Volleyball Splits Pair to Open Season
MANCHESTER, N.H. (Sept. 3, 2011) – On Saturday afternoon, the Mercy College volleyball team opened its season at Saint Anselm, splitting a pair of games against Merrimack College (1-1) and Saint Anselm College (1-1) to leave with a 1-1 record.
The Mavericks dropped the first set against Merrimack but came back to take the next two and clinched the win in the fourth set of an incredibly close match in which no set was decided by more than three points. Head Coach Alan Clements stayed unbeaten in season openers at Mercy, at 2-0.
Mercy funneled its attack through its outside hitters, freshman Brenna White (Gardnerville, Nev.) and sophomore Nicolette Gebhardt (Middletown, N.Y.), who each notched double-doubles in kills and digs (20-11 and 15-10, respectively) and took over 70 percent of the team's attempts.
Thanks to some impressive hitting percentages from the rest of the squad, including junior middle hitter Kassy Phillips (Marcellus, N.Y.), who hit .538 percent on eight kills and made a team-high 2.5 blocks, Mercy was able to gain the slight edge it needed to take the sets and victory. The Merrimack Warriors found themselves fighting an uphill battle halfway through the second set, going on to hit a meager .097 and .179 in the final two sets to give Mercy the match.
Sophomore middle hitter Nicole Pepe (East Meadow, N.Y.) tied a career high in leading the team with two service aces, while junior Rebecca Lynch (Oceanside, N.Y.) and freshman McKenna Ronan (Chandler, Ariz.) split duties as setter, recording 37 between them.
The second match was just as close, with Saint Anselm barely taking the first set, 26-24, despite a mere .081 hitting percentage for the Mavericks before Mercy stormed ahead to win the next two sets, including a decisive third (25-18), and pulling into position for the victory.
Things began to unravel for the Mavericks then, however, as they hit just .118 in the fourth set and -.143 in the fifth, handing the Hawks the win despite sub-par percentages themselves (.162 and .100).
Saint Anselm's freshman setter Natalie Steinwart (Aurora, Ill.) set up 40 of the widespread offense's 60 kills, while senior outside hitter Chrlotte Tencza (Greenfield, Mass.) led the game with 19 kills and four services aces, along with 12 digs for the only double-double.
White and Gebhardt continued their already impressive day with 17 and 14 kills, respectively. Ronan and Lynch combined for 32 assists and Phillips again led the team with 2.5 blocks. Freshman defensive specialist Christina Bjerstedt (Lebanon, Ohio) led the game with 14 digs.
Mercy will return for the first homestand of the season on Wednesday versus Bloomfield College. Start time is set for 7:00 p.m.