Volleyball Sweeps Mercer 3-0 in Home Opener
VIDEO: Freshman Alex Beecher Post-Match Interview
VIDEO: Senior OH Moriah Bellissimo Post-Match Interview
VIDEO: Coach Chad Callihan Post-Match Interview
STATESBORO, Ga. – Moriah Bellissimo posted 13 kills and 15 digs to lead Georgia Southern to a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21) volleyball victory over Mercer Tuesday night in Hanner Fieldhouse.
It was the home opener for the Eagles (5-2), who also got 12 kills and three blocks from Meredith Paskert. Kate Van Dyke, who was honored before the game for breaking the school career record in assists, notched a match-high 41 helpers, and Alexandra Beecher posted 22 digs. Enjoli Johnson added eight kills.
Jamie Duffey led Mercer (2-2) with seven kills to go along with 21 digs, and Molly Locke logged seven kills and 10 digs. Emily Rochefort collected 18 digs.
Despite winning all three sets, Georgia Southern had to labor through some long rallies and overcome a five-point deficit in the final set. The Eagles hit below .200 in the first two sets before hitting .333 in the third frame, tallying 19 kills on 48 swings.
"It's so exciting to be home after playing our first six matches on the road, and I think we were over-amped and trying to do a little too much," said Georgia Southern coach Chad Callihan. "We talked in a couple of timeouts about taking what was given to us and started to play a better mental game, and that was nice to see."
Trailing 15-10 in the third set, the Eagles used a 10-3 run, keyed by three kills by Johnson and two by Bellissimo, to take a 20-18 lead. Then with GSU ahead 21-20, Jamie DeRatt and Bellissimo logged consecutive kills for a three-point cushion. DeRatt put down another ball, and Johnson and Van Dyke combined for a block to end the match.
The Eagles jumped out to a 6-2 cushion in the first set, but Mercer battled back and a Locke kill tied the score 9-9. A Bellissimo kill capped an 8-3 GSU run as the Eagles took control 17-12, but the Bears used a 10-3 run of their own to take a 22-20 advantage. Georgia Southern answered by scoring the last five points of the set, as Paskert notched two kills, to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Georgia Southern never trailed in the second set and clinging to a 15-13 advantage, the Eagles used an 8-3 run to pull away. Nicole Jeschelnik, Johnson and Paskert all had kills in the run.
"It's tough sometimes to find a rhythm against a good defensive team like Mercer," said Bellissimo. "We struggled with that a little bit, but we were able to get going and come out with a win."
Georgia Southern returns to action at the New Mexico Invitational in Albuquerque this weekend. The Eagles will face New Mexico Friday and UC-Santa Barbara and Portland Saturday.
Fans can follow their Eagles at GSEagles.com or receive short updates at facebook.com/GSAthletics, +twitter.com/GSAthletics or on Google+ at gplus.to/GSAthletics.
- Category: Volleyball
- Published on Tuesday, 04 September 2012 20:49