Sand Volleyball falls in tourney

The fifth seeded Mercer sand volleyball team was eliminated from the Atlantic Sun Tournament on Saturday after dropping 3-2 decisions to No. 4 Florida Gulf Coast and No. 3 Jacksonville at the Dolphin Beach Volleyball Courts.
 Mercer (0-17) saw its season conclude while FGCU (5-9) and Jacksonville (6-16) moved on to Sunday’s play, where they will face each other at 11 a.m.
 In the fifth flight against FGCU, Charlayna Braxton and Erin Brett pushed Jill Hopper and Gigi Meyer to a deciding third set before ultimately falling 2-1 (14-21, 21-7, 15-10).  The Bears rebounded to take wins in the No. 3 and 4 flights as Madison Petsos and Molly Locke claimed a 2-1 (21-17, 17-21, 15-13) victory over Liga Strautniece and Christine Pinder and Emily Rochefort and Caroline Carlton topped Olivia Mesner and Lindsey Childs 2-0 (21-15, 21-12).
 The Eagles claimed a 2-0 (23-21, 21-17) win in the No. 2 flight, setting the stage for a deciding match between Mercer’s No. 1 pairing of Jamie Duffy and Jennifer Katona and FGCU’s Brooke Kohler and Brittany Muse.  After the teams split the opening sets, Kohler and Muse captured a 15-8 win in the deciding frame.
 Against Jacksonville, Mercer picked up wins in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots again, but the Dolphins prevailed by capturing straight-set victories in the No. 5, 4 and 1 spots.  Petsos and Locke teamed for a 2-0 (21-9, 21-11) victory in the fourth flight while Rochefort and Carlton rolled to a 2-0 (22-20, 21-17) win in the third flight.
Despite a disappointing season, two Bears were recognized for their accomplishments. Junior Erin Brett and freshman Molly Locke among the honorees.  Brett earned an All-Academic team selection while Locke picked up All-Freshman team honors.
 Brett landed a spot on the 10-member Academic All-Conference team, consisting of nominees who maintained at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA, had matriculated one year at their institution and participated in at least 50% of their team’s matches. 
 This spring, Brett has blossomed into one of the team’s most consistent players, teaming with classmate Carly Iannarino to post a 2-1 record in A-Sun play at the No. 5 pairing.  In the classroom, Brett boasts a 3.86 GPA in Environmental Engineering.
 Locke played alongside seniors Jenn Katona and Madison Petsos in the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 pairings this season.  She notched a pair of wins, including a league triumph over Florida Gulf Coast’s No. 4 pairing of Liga Strautniece and Christine Pinder on March 30.
 Locke’s selection is her second conference accolade of the academic year after also picking up All-Freshman honors following the indoor volleyball season.