The Mercer women’s volleyball team has dropped three of their last four matches bringing their overall record to 7-10 on the year and 3-4 in conference play.
The first match-up for the Bears was against the Norse of Northern Kentucky University. The Orange & Black faltered, losing in three straight sets (25-19, 25-22, 25-18) to a talented Northern Kentucky squad.
The Bears were quiet offensively as no one on the team registered double digit kills on the night. Freshman Molly Locke led the team in kills with eight, while seniors Jamie Duffy and Charlayna Braxton each knock down seven kills apiece.
Junior Emily Rochefort was able to amass 17 digs in the match while Jamie Duffy added an impressive 14 digs of her own.
Senior setter Monica Sanchez recorded 27 assists in the match versus the Norse.
One statistical category that has normally been a staple for the Bears, but was not at all present against Northern Kentucky was blocking. The Bears were only able to keep four Northern Kentucky hits from crossing to their side of the net. Charlayna Braxton led the team in this category with two solo blocks and one block assist.
The next contest for the Bears was against the visiting Bison from Lipscomb University. Again, the Bears would drop the match in a 3-1 (19-25, 17-25, 25-18, 23-25) decision.
Head Coach Damian Elder and his squad were able to step up their game on both sides of the ball since their last outing versus Northern Kentucky, but it was still not enough to hold off a competitive Bison squad.
Senior Jamie Duffy was able to knock home 10 kills in the losing effort, while sophomore Caroline Carlton and freshman Molly Locke were able to put away eight and seven of their own respectively. Seniors Charlayna Braxton and Jenn Katona contributed six kills apiece in the match.
Junior libero Emily Rochefort led the team with 21 digs. Freshman standout Molly Locke was not far behind as she was able to rack up 18 digs of her own. Senior Jamie Duffy added 12 digs of her own.
Duffy’s combination of 10 kills and 12 digs was good for her fourth double-double of the season. Senior Monica Sanchez was Mercer’s most efficient attacker, collecting a season-high five kills on 12 attacking attempts. Her five kills came in conjunction with 33 assists and nine digs.
Coach Elder knew that things were not good enough for the Bears.
“We definitely need to go back to practice and figure out some offense. It was a little bit better in the last two sets. We got some production from our middles, which is great. That’s something we’ve been waiting for,” Elder commented.
“We tinkered with the line-up a little bit today. We figured we didn’t have much to lose against the defending champs, so we tried a couple of different things and some things worked, some things didn’t. So we’re still trying to get the right people in the right places,” Elder added.
The next match saw the Orange & Black regain winning form while they took on the Ospreys from the University of North Florida.
In a highly contested match, Mercer was able to take the win away 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 19-25, 25-19, 15-12) in a five set thriller.
Senior Jenn Katona and freshman Molly Locke led the attacking onslaught for the Bears each finishing the match with an impressive 16 kill performance. Sophomore Caroline Carlton added 11 kills of her own.
The match-up against the Ospreys saw Mercer playing lights out defense. Five Bears notched double-digit dig efforts. Leading the way for the Orange & Black was junior libero Emily Rochefort. Rochefort put on a defensive clinic collecting 30 digs. Senior Jamie Duffy was also exceptional on defense chipping in 20 digs of her own. Freshman Molly Locke tallied 17 digs in the win for the Bears. Seniors Monica Sanchez and Codi Schepp amassed 14 and 10 digs respectively to round out the double-digit dig efforts for the Bears.
Senior setter Monica Sanchez passed out 48 assists in the winning effort.
In the next match, the Bears were on the other end of a five-set thriller. The Bears lost 3-2 (25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 25-18, 8-15).
Several Mercer players had impressive attacking efforts with four Bears collecting double-digit kills. Leading the way was senior Jamie Duffy with 16 kills. Freshman Molly Locke and sophomore Caroline Carlton each added 15 kills of their own while senior Jenn Katona added 12 kills.
Three Bears were able to achieve double-digit dig efforts with Emily Rochefort leading the way with 24. Senior Jamie Duffy added 22 digs and freshman Molly Locke was able to add 16 digs herself.
The Bears took on the East Tennessee State Buccanneers on Tues. Oct 9 after the paper went to press.
The next match-up for the Bears is away against Kennesaw State on Oct 13.
Volleyball drops 3 of 4 in conference play