MACON, Ga. - Mercer senior Charlayna Braxton pounded down 10 kills on 17 swings to lead the volleyball team to a clutch 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 30-28) win over Kennesaw State on Thursday night at Hawkins Arena.
The Bears' victory kept the team's Atlantic Sun tournament hopes alive, while also eliminating its in-state rival from contention for the tournament. At the conclusion of the regular season, Mercer's record stands at 11-17 (7-11 A-Sun) while Kennesaw State finished the year at 16-17 (5-13 A-Sun).
Braxton's .714 hitting percentage marked Mercer's highest single-game attacking efficiency on the season and included six crucial kills in the third set. In the final set alone, Braxton converted eight of her six swings for a .750 hitting percentage.
Freshman Molly Locke registered her team-leading 14th double-double of the year on the strength of a team-high 14 kills and 17 digs. Sophomore Caroline Carlton also cracked into double-figure kills, booking 10 on 28 attempts with six errors.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair with 15 ties and three lead changes. In the second set, the Bears raced out to a 6-1 lead in and never surrendered the advantage. In the third set, the Bears were down 24-22 before back-to-back kills by senior Jennifer Katona and Braxton tied the match. Ultimately, the Bears were able to fend off set-point six times before claiming a 30-28 win.
Senior Monica Sanchez dished out a match-high 41 assists in the win, while junior Emily Rochefort led all players with 20 digs. Her 20 digs moved her season total to 554, ranking third in the program record books for single-season digs. Sanchez' season average of 9.39 assists per set ranks fourth among program leaders in the category.
Mercer, now idle, will await its fate as Atlantic Sun play concludes this weekend. The Bears can gain entry into the tournament based on four scenarios: USC Upstate defeats Jacksonville on November 9; Jacksonville defeats USC Upstate on November 9 and loses to ETSU on November 10; USC Upstate loses to Jacksonville on November 9 and defeats North Florida on November 10; USC Upstate loses its final two A-Sun matches.