Macon, Ga. – Behind 18 kills from senior Jordan McNeill, Furman volleyball held off a Mercer rally and downed the Bears, 3-1 (25-23, 26-28, 25-19, 25-18) on Saturday afternoon in Macon, Ga. The win moves the Paladins to 10-13 on the year, 6-6 in SoCon play, while the loss drops the Bears to 12-11, 5-7 in SoCon play.
Furman was led by McNeill with 18 kills on the afternoon, while adding eight digs and three blocks. Carris Campbell put down 13 kills and a match-high seven blocks, while Jamila Johnson added 11 kills and 16 digs for a double-double. Meg DeMaar turned in her second-straight game with 25 digs, while Lydia Morris put down seven kills and added three blocks.
The teams played a tight set early in the first, until the Paladins opened a three-pont advantage at 13-10. Mercer called a timeout after Furman took an 18-15 advantage, then used back-to-back points to cut the lead to one at 18-17. Furman pushed the lead back to three at 20-17, but the Bears rallied to tie the set at 20, forcing a Paladin timeout. Furman used a 3-1 run out of the timeout to take a 23-21 lead, and the teams traded points to close out the set, giving the Paladins the 25-23 set one win.
Furman and Mercer again played a tight set in the second, until the Bears used a 6-1 run to take a five-point lead at 15-10. The Paladins then grabbed the momentum, using a 9-2 run of their own to take a 19-17 lead. Furman grabbed set point at 24-23, but the Bears continuously rallied to tie the set, then used a 3-0 run to take set two, 28-26, to tie the match at one.
The Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead in set three, before the Paladins used a 4-0 run to cut the lead to one at 9-8 and force Mercer to take an early timeout. Out of the timeout, the Paladins continued to hold the momentum, using a 5-1 run to take a 13-10 lead, capped off by back-to-back kills by Carris Campbell. The Bears tied the set at 13, but the Paladins responded with a 5-0 run to open an 18-13 advantage on Mercer. The teams then traded points until Furman used a 3-0 run to open a six-point lead at 23-17. Mercer cut the lead to 23-18 and 24-19, but the Paladins took advantage of a Bears' attack error to take set three, 25-19, for a 2-1 lead.
The teams traded points early in the fourth, until Mercer used three-straight points to erase a Furman lead and take an 11-8 advantage. The Paladins responded, however, as Hunter Thompson served Furman on a 7-0 run to open a four-point lead at 15-11. The Bears cut the lead to one at 16-15, but the Paladins pushed the lead back to three at 10-16, then to four at 20-16. After a service error cut the lead to 20-17, Furman used a 5-1 run to take the set, 25-18, and the match, 3-1.
The Bears were led by Annie Karle with 15 kills, while Paige Alsten put down 13 and added five blocks.
The Paladins are back in action next weekend, hosting ETSU on Friday night and Western Carolina on Saturday night in a Senior Night matchup.