Volleyball opened conference play at home with games against The Citadel on Friday and Wofford on Saturday. The Bears defeated The Citadel 3-0 but lost to Wofford 1-3.
The Citadel hasn’t defeated Mercer since Oct. 20 of 2017 and that winning streak held up during Friday’s game. The Bears prevented The Citadel from scoring more than 17 points in any of the three sets and handily defeated them 25-15, 25-16 and 25-17.
Mercer’s Rayanne de Oliveira led the way with 11 kills. Annie Karle was just behind her with ten and Jaida Howell chipped in six of her own. Lexi Uhrhan forced through five aces as well.
Taylor Lynch and Megan Smith stabilized the defense with 10 digs each while Oliveira contributed six blocks.
Ali Ruffin led The Citadel in kills with nine while the Bulldogs’ Kenzie Kellerman led the team in digs with 11.
With an early jump-start to conference play, the Bears moved on to their next game against Wofford. Though the game was competitive, the Bears eventually lost the matchup 1-3.
Mercer dropped the first set 19-25, but picked up the second 25-23 to tie things up. Wofford kept their foot on the gas, however, and defeated Mercer in the last two sets 18-25 and 23-25.
Mercer, led again by Oliveira with 14 kills, scored only three fewer points than Wofford for the entire game. Karle chipped in another 12 kills while Lynch had 10. Howell led Mercer in blocks with seven on the day.
Wofford’s kill leader, Sarah Barham, had 10 kills along with eight blocks. Wofford’s Emily Hodson had 36 assists and Kaitlyn Brown had 23 digs.
Despite the loss, Agnieska Paskevic picked up 35 assists and Megan Smith had 17 digs.
Mercer moved to 5-8 overall and ended the games with an even 1-1 record in conference play. The team’s next matchup is an Oct. 1 showdown on the road against Western Carolina University.
Keith Holmes Jr. ‘22 is a journalism and creative writing double major who has worked with The Cluster as general staff since his Sophomore year. Keith has received Best in SNO awards for his sports articles along with years of work at Mercer’s ESPN3 branch. Keith spends his free time playing video games and writing fiction around campus.