Monday, September 6, 2010
Volleyball Struggles Early in 2010 Season
J. Andrew Lockwood
It took the Bears a while to win their first game, much less a match. Six matches to be exact. This past week was a rough start indeed for Head Coach Noelle Rooke’s squad as they dropped their first six matches of the year before picking up key wins at home for a three-way tie for first place in the Bear Brawl Classic.
In their defense, the schedule hasn’t exactly been the easiest either. Mercer started off the year against Eastern Washington, #9 Washington, Portland State and Seattle in the University of Washington Invitational in Seattle. After starting off the 2010 campaign 0-4, the Bears would drop an away match at Auburn before returning home for the annual tournament hosted by Mercer.
After losing 3-2 to Presbyterian in the tournament opener, Mercer raced past Tennessee-Martin and The Citadel to bring their record to 2-6.
Eastern Washington 3, Mercer 0
In the opening match of the year, Mercer forced overtime for the first two sets before running out of gas in the third, falling to Eastern Washington 26-24, 28-26, 25-13. Amiee Frutchey would lead Mercer with 10 kills, but errors would plague her team throughout the match. The Bears would commit a total of 8 serving errors and 27 attack errors on the day.
#9 Washington 3, Mercer 0
Facing their toughest non-conference opponent of the season, Mercer could do little against the Huskies on their home floor. The match was a quick one for both sides (25-13, 25-10, 25-15), but one that saw the Huskies’ starting lineup get a tune-up before their Pac-10 regular season.
Portland State 3, Mercer 0
The Vikings were a step ahead of the Bears as they used senior Whitney Phillips’ 19 kills en route to an easy victory over Mercer. Defensively, the Bears could do little to stop Portland State as they would hit .333 for the opening weekend match in comparison to Mercer’s .093. Charlayna Braxton was the bright spot for the Bears, recording 4 kills and a solo block. Krista Hurley would finish with a team-high 7 kills.
Seattle 3, Mercer 0
In the final match of the Washington-based tournament, the Pilots saw another all-star performance from Cristin Richards as she would finish the match with 20 kills and 15 digs. Mercer fought valiantly as much of the roster got some work within the match. Hurley would again lead the Bears with 9 kills on 17 attempts.
Auburn 3, Mercer 0
It was close until the end. Mercer battled the SEC’s Auburn Tigers during a mid-week match and pushed them to the limit in the first two sets, coming up just short 26-24 and 25-22. The last set was much more decisive (25-14). Auburn used the match to work out 16 players on the roster to improve to a 4-0 record for the year. Although both teams were neck and neck early in the match, Auburn’s Kelly Fidero would record 5 kills in the final set as Auburn cruised with a .591 hitting percentage.
Presbyterian 3, Mercer 2
The Bears cam oh so close to their first win of the year in their first home game of 2010 against the Blue Hose. Despite a 2-1 lead going into the 4th set, Mercer just couldn’t produce enough offense to overcome the Clinton, South Carolina based school as Rooke’s squad dropped their 6th match in a row. Krista Hurley would record 10 kills to lead the Bears on the floor.
Mercer 3, Tennessee-Martin 1
After a painfully slow start to the season, Mercer had the momentum in the Friday night match against the Skyhawks. The Bears had several huge contributors in their first win of the year including freshman setter Bridget Sheerin (40 assists, 11 digs), Amiee Frutchey (14 kills, 18 digs), and Cassie Roy (4 serving aces).
“It just all came together tonight and there are so many positives across the board,” said Head Coach Noelle Rooke. “There were a lot of contributors and we worked together to form a balanced attack. Momentum is so key in this game and we rode it when we had it,” she added on MercerBears.com.
Mercer 3, The Citadel 0
Although the final score would indicate a blowout, the match was anything but as both teams battled each other in long sets with the Bears resiliency kicking in at the end of each match. Both teams had a tough match offensively as Mercer hit .157 while the Citadel tabbed a .131 attack percentage. Statistically, Amiee Frutchey put together a solid match for Mercer, leading the way with 9 kills and 9 digs. The Bears win cemented their place in a three way tie as the 2010 Bear Brawl Champions.