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Volleyball Tops Mercy in League Opener

September 10, 2014

“Si, se puede!”

If you’ve watched a Stony Brook volleyball game at any point since 2010, you’ve heard this mantra–Spanish for “Yes, we can!”–called out in unison as our girls broke their huddle. It was a belief they needed to latch onto this afternoon as they hosted a spirited Mercy team in Swanson Gymnasium.

Game One

Things looked dubious for the Bears as Mercy reeled off six consecutive points to start the game, each one punctuated with a piercing, collective yell from the visitors. With the Brook staring down a 1-7 early deficit, Hannah Abrahamsen helped close the gap, scoring three consecutive points on her serve to bring her team within two points. After Mercy pushed the lead back to four, the Bears fought back, ultimately tying the game at 14 when the Monarchs couldn’t return a great serve from Marlee Painter. After falling behind again, the Bears tied the game at 16, only to see Mercy grab the lead back. Just when it seemed like the Bears wouldn’t find the right mix of momentum and luck to take the lead, a kill by Alissa Holt, a wide shot by Mercy, and a long rally that finally went our way, gave our girls a 21-20 edge. The tug-of-war continued as the both teams tried to separate from each other, only to find themselves tied again. Mercy ultimately took a lead late and with Stony Brook facing match point, down 23-24, they watched helplessly as a Mercy return caught the net and rolled across the top of it, only to fall harmlessly out of bounds, leaving the teams tied yet again. From there, Mercy took a 25-24 lead, and had the requisite 25 points to win the game, but they needed to win by two points. On the ensuing play the Monarchs hit it wide, leaving the teams deadlocked again at 25. This time, the Bears would come up with the shots they needed. Painter stepped up and hit a rocket that yielded no return, to take a 1-point edge, then Mercy found the net on the next play giving the Brook a thrilling 27-25 win in the first game of the best-of-five match. | 27-25

Game Two

Mercy got out quick again in the second game, holding a 7-1 lead in the early going. An eight point run, punctuated by two kills from Joy Ezi, adept passing from Sammy Petersen, and aggressive serving from Cordae Mattson, gave the Brook a 13-10 edge. They maintained the lead and, up 19-16, looked poised to take a commanding 2-0 lead in games, but the Monarchs scored seven consecutive points during an 8-1 run to even the match at 1-1. | 20-25

Game Three

Mercy jumped out to a quick lead yet again, but Ezi was a stalwart presence early on. Her kill cut the deficit to 4-5, then back-to-back aces gave the Bears an 8-6 lead. Both teams traded kills, never separated by more than a few points in the middle part of the game. With the girls clinging to an 18-16 lead, Petersen came up with one of the biggest shots of the match, hitting the right sideline on her serve for a crucial ace. Mercy got back within a point at 22-21, but Petersen came through again, blocking a shot for one point, then giving a perfect set to Mattson for the kill to give the Bears a 24-21 edge. Mercy would tack on another point, but found the net on their next service to give the Brook the game and a 2-1 lead. | 25-22

Game Four

The Bears finally got out to their own quick start, taking a 3-0 lead on kills from Abrahamsen and Mattson and no return on a serve from Painter. Kills from Ezi and two more kills from Mattson gave the Brook an 11-8 lead, but Mercy refused to go away. With the Bears holding onto a narrow 16-15 edge, they went on a game-breaking 6-0 run, highlighted by a great kill from Holt and consecutive service rockets from Petersen to go up 21-15. Mercy managed just two points the rest of the way as Ezi served out the game in dominant fashion, the Monarchs unable to return her final three serves. | 25-17

The Bears are 1-0 in league play and take the court again on Friday in Swanson Gymnasium vs. Shelter Island @ 4:30pm.

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