Gebhardt and Johnson Combine for 27 Kills and Gonzalez Contributes 29 Digs as Volleyball Opens Season Against Caldwell and Bentley

Gebhardt and Johnson Combine for 27 Kills and Gonzalez Contributes 29 Digs as Volleyball Opens Season Against Caldwell and Bentley

WALTHAM, Mass. (Sept. 1, 2017) – Despite a combined 27 kills on the day from freshman Courtney Gebhardt (Bloomingburg, N.Y./Pine Bush) and senior Sa'Naya Johnson (Elizabeth, N.J./Elizabeth) and 29 digs from junior Neysha Gonzalez (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico/Monroe College), the Mercy College volleyball team opened up their 2017 season with hard-fought straight-set losses to Caldwell University and Bentley University at the Hoffman Memorial Invitational on Friday at Bentley University.

The Mavericks (0-2) drop their first two matches of the year, while the Cougars and Falcons both went 2-0 on the day.

Gebhardt led Mercy with 16 kills, while also securing 17 digs. Johnson slammed home 11 kills and had three blocks. Gonzalez had a team-high 29 digs and junior Brooke Runge (Closter, N.J./Northern Valley Demarest) recorded 26 assists and 12 digs. Freshman Adriana Lopez-Soto (Gurabo, Puerto Rico/Notre Dame HS) also had a strong debut ending up with 19 digs.

Caldwell was led by Taryn Auyong who had a match-high 12 kills along with nine digs.

Bentley was paced by Caitlin Corcoran and Rachel Bruno who had a team-high seven kills.

Caldwell 3, Mercy 0

The Mavericks got off to a great start as they went point for point with a well-seasoned Caldwell team. The two teams were tied at 16-16 in the opening set following a Gebhardt service ace. The Cougars then finished the set on a 9-2 run to take the first set, 25-18.

Mercy continued to battle and did not give up as they battled Caldwell to a 13-13 tie to begin the second set after a kill by sophomore Gabriella Fernandes (Islip, N.Y./Islip). The Cougars pulled away with a 12-2 run to close the stanza and take a 2-0 lead.

The Mavericks looked to win their first set of the year and jumped out to a 6-5 lead, but Caldwell responded with five straight points to take the lead for good and ended up securing the match with a 25-15 set three win.

Gebhardt had eight kills in her debut, while Johnson also added eight kills. Gonzalez had a match-high 18 digs and Runge dished out a team-high 11 assists.

Bentley 3, Mercy 0

Mercy continued to play hard in their second match of the day with their defense and serve receive on point during the match. The Mavericks once again got off to a good start as they jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the opening set. However, the hosts immediately responded with seven straight points to take a 14-11 lead. After a Gebhardt kill, the Falcons held a 16-13 lead, but that was the closest the Mavericks could get as Bentley took set one, 25-17.

The second stanza saw the Falcons lead from start-to-finish, taking a 2-0 lead in the match after a 25-9 set two victory.

Bentley built a 10-3 lead early in set three and looked to be on their way to cruising to the set three win. However, the Mavericks showed some resiliency and responded by cutting the deficit to three, 13-10, after a Johnson kill. Mercy would continue to fight the rest of the way, but would ultimately fall, 25-18, giving the Falcons the victory.

Gebhardt had eight kills and 14 digs, while Lopez-Soto had 12 digs. Runge contributed 15 assists and 11 digs for a double-double and Gonzalez also netted 11 digs.

Head Coach Georgia Efthalitsides and the Mavericks resume action tomorrow when they play Wilmington University at 1 p.m. and Southern New Hampshire University at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Bentley University