Volleyball Sweeps Final Day of Winthrop Classic
ROCK HILL, S.C. – A number of eye-popping stats highlighted a pair of Mercer volleyball victories on Saturday as the team concluded play at the Winthrop Classic. Mercer topped Western Carolina 3-1 (17-25, 26-24, 26-24, 25-18) before downing North Carolina A&T 3-1 (22-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-22).
Mercer's wins snapped a five-match losing streak and sent the Bears to 4-6 on the season. Western Carolina slipped to 3-10 with their loss while North Carolina A&T remained winless at 0-15.
Against Western Carolina, Mercer's sensational duo of freshman Molly Locke and senior Monica Sanchez both turned in solid double-double efforts. Locke led all players with 23 kills while also recording 18 digs, two block-assists and two service aces. Locke's 23 kills marked Mercer's highest single-match kill total since Amiee Frutchey had 23 kills in a five-set match against South Carolina State on September 18, 2010.
Sanchez's second-straight double-double was earned with 49 assists, 10 digs, three kills and a block-assist. Her 49 assists was her greatest total in Orange and Black and represented the third time this season she has posted 40 or more assists.
The Bears' defeat of the Catamounts was hard-fought, as Mercer dropped the opening set and was forced to go to extra points to earn the second and third set victories. In the second set, back-to-back kills by Locke helped the Bears break away from a 24-24 tie. In the third set, the score was tied 24-24 once again before a pair of Western Carolina attacking errors lifted Mercer to the win.
In the second match of the day, junior Emily Rochefort led a Mercer back-line defense that limited North Carolina A&T to a .081 hitting percentage. In the four set win, Rochefort piled up 43 digs, marking the highest single-match dig total for an Atlantic Sun player since Jacksonville's Shelley Walroth collected 46 against Florida Gulf Coast on October 17, 2009.
Against North Carolina A&T, Mercer stumbled out of the gates and dropped the opening set again. In the second set, Mercer broke away from a 20-20 tie with a 5-1 run to even the match score at 1-1. In the third set, Mercer raced out to a 5-0 lead and never trailed on the way to a 25-15 victory. The final set, Mercer held a slim 22-21 advantage before closing on a 3-1 surge.
Senior Jamie Duffy narrowly missed her second double-double of the year against the Aggies, racking up a team-high 13 kills and nine digs. Her classmate Charlayna Braxton chipped in eight kills and three block-assists, while Madison Petsos was credited with seven kills.
Mercer returns to action with its home opener against Atlantic Sun conference foe East Tennessee State on Tuesday evening. Match time is scheduled for 7 p.m.