Oxford, Miss. – Mercer rose above Northwestern State in its opening contest of the Ole Miss Classic, defeating the Demons 18-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-15 on Thursday.
The Bears (4-2) have won four matches in a row after a 0-2 start to the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Set 1 (18-25) | Mercer could not overcome an 11-4 run by the Demons in the opening set of the Ole Miss Classic. Despite Morgan MacGilvary's season debut performance after being temporarily out due to an injury and Paige Alsten's .600 hitting percentage, the Bears could not overcome the Demons' offense.
Set 2 (25-23) | Mercer turned up its intensity in the second set. Paige Alsten led the Bears with three out of the eight points and maintained her hitting percentage of .600. A five-point lead was lost as Northwestern State rallied to tie the set, 21-21, and eventually took the advantage off an ace. Mercer held tight though and sealed the set with an assisted block by Emily Krogmanand Alsten.
Set 3 (25-20) | The Bears quickly took off with a 15-9 lead against the Demons. A service ace by Krogman, a pair of kills by Alsten, and a kill by Danielle Faust made it nearly impossible for the Demons to jump back into the game. A final kill from Maria Avramova capped the third set and put the Bears ahead 2-1 in the match.
Set 4 (25-15) | The fourth set proved to be neck-and-neck early on before Mercer pulled away, 8-4, thanks to three points off Northwestern State attack errors and a kill by MacGilvary. The run turned into a 12-point lead for the Bears before Maddie Nunley closed the match with a kill.
- Paige Alsten contributed a monster effort with 21 kills, six blocks and a team-high .594 hitting percentage.
- Morgan MacGilvary started her senior season with a double-double of 12 kills and 12 digs.
- Freshman Maddie Nunley started her collegiate career with 35 assists, two kills, and six digs.
- Emily Krogman had a team-best and career-best four service aces.
COACH SCHROEDER'S TAKE
"This was a day when we just didn't quite have it, but found a way to win. Happy for freshman Maddie Nunley, who stepped in due to an injury to senior setter Claire Waliczek, and played a solid match. We passed another culture test today. Good teams get it done and stay determined even when it feels off."
- Mercer: 4-2
- Northwestern State: 3-5
Mercer will play a pair of matches against Austin Peay and Ole Miss at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively, Saturday. Both matches are part of the Ole Miss Classic.