The Lady Bisons closed out their road trip to Georgia Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 sweep of Mercer in Macon, Ga., by scores of 25-19, 25-21 and 25-17.
“We knew what was at stake coming into this match,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “They had a good, rowdy crowd. Obviously, it was pretty personal and the girls responded well.
“In all three sets we got out to a seven-or-eight point lead. The crowd had some information on us and they used it. The big thing was how we responded.”
Junior outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer led the way for the Lady Bisons with a season-high and match-high 19 kills. She also added 11 digs for a double-double. Hinemeyer also had two service aces and a .378 hitting percentage. She had 45 total attacks.
“The first thing that jumps out about Meghan is 19 kills in three sets,” said Rosenthal. “That is a lot of kills in three sets. I think more so than that she played great defense.
“She did a nice job of mixing up the pace on the ball. She really frustrated Mercer. We have talked with her a lot about her offense starting with her defense. We saw that this weekend.”
Also getting a double-double was junior middle hitter Alex Kelly. She dealt with a double-team from Mercer for most of the match, but still managed 10 kills and 11 digs.
Junior setter Stefine “Jake” Pease had 35 assists and worked with Hinemeyer to take pressure off of Kelly.
“Jake continues to put teams in tough situations,” said Rosenthal. “I am glad she is on our side.
“Jake felt like things were going well with Hinemeyer. She was frustrating people. And with Hinemeyer frustrating Mercer early Jake had to continue going to that hot hand.”
Rosenthal has been stressing the need to play defense at a high level and the Lady Bisons responded with 72 digs, their highest total this season in a three-set match.
Pease was credited with a season-high 17 digs. Senior opposite Erin Pierce finished with 13. Sophomore libero Katie Rose added 12.
“Mercer came into the match leading the conference in digs per set,” said Rosenthal. “We talked about Mercer’s play on defense and we wanted to prove something.
“The biggest thing was our defensive intensity. Our girls were literally flying all over the court. It carried over from the Kennesaw State match Friday night.”
It marked the second match in a row that the Lady Bisons have kept any opposing player from posting double figures in kills. However, Mercer’s Charlotte Harris made a match-high 23 digs. Amiee Frutchey added 12.
“It was a total defensive effort for us,” said Rosenthal. “That always leads to offense for us. Defensive intensity is something we put a lot of emphasis on each match.”
The Lady Bisons are 18-3, 13-0 in the conference. Mercer is 6-15, 4-9 in the A-Sun. The Lady Bisons are back home Friday to play Florida Gulf Coast at Allen Arena. Saturday Stetson visits the Lipscomb campus.