Mercado Smacks Career High 32 Kills in Pioneers' Win Over FDU

TEANECK, N.J. (October 19, 2013)—Senior Dianis Mercado (Vega Baja, Puerto Rico) posted her career-high 32 kills in the Sacred Heart women's volleyball team's 3-2 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday afternoon in the Stratis Arena. Jene Lee, who hit .500 in the set, led the team with five block assists. The Pioneers improve to 11-9 on the season, and 5-2 in conference with the win.

It was a battle right from the get-go as the Knights and Pioneers exchanged three-point runs to open the first set. FDU, who was hunting their first conference win, snapped a 5-5 tie combining a kill by Courtney Kovensky and two SHU errors for an 8-5 lead. But Sacred Heart fought its way back and on a Sarah Krufka (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.) kill tied the score at 15. Marie Zimmerman notched a kill for the next point giving the Pioneers a brief lead, as the Knights tied the score and reclaimed the lead immediately. Back in the hole after three FDU points, Sacred Heart, once again, showed how good they are at playing catch-up using a five-point run to take a 23-20 lead. After the Knights snagged one point, Mercado sent down her set-leading seventh kill to push Sacred Heart to set point, and junior Alissa Young (La Verne, Calif.) crushed one to claim the 25-22 win for the Pioneers.

The Knights took the next two sets with extra points in come-from-behind fashion. Sacred Heart led for most of the second set, taking their largest lead of five points on Alisa Mesa's (Long Beach, Calif.) three-point service run. FDU chipped away to tie the score at 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 points, three of which came on SHU errors. Two Pioneer attack errors gave the Knights the set 26-24. The Pioneers seemed to have control in the third set taking a big 20-12 lead on Sara Fernandez's (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) six-point service run before FDU's Violeta Slabakova's five-point run, which featured four SHU errors, lessened the gap. Down 24-22, Taylor Roland-Buohl led the Knights to a 25-24 lead with a four-point run. Sacred Heart got one more point on Corey Lostetter's bad set, but FDU answered with a kill to retake the lead 26-25. Another SHU error gave the Knights a 2-1 set lead with the 27-25 win. 

The Pioneers regrouped after two tough losses and dominated the Knights taking the fourth set 25-15. Only allowing FDU one lead, 4-3, Sacred Heart went on an offensive tare with Mercado, who led all players with six kills, and Lee, who posted an errorless set going 5-for-7, leading the way. Mesa recorded 13 assists in the set, her highest of the day. 

The Knights took a quick 2-1 lead in the decisive set, but on Mesa's service run, Sacred Heart rebounded for a 5-2 lead forcing FDU to use a timeout. The Knights tied the score once at 6, but the Pioneers never relinquished the lead and a Marie Zimmerman (Denver, Colo.) kill, an Ana Gonzalez (Guaynabo, Puerto Rico) ace and an FDU attack errors to win the set 15-10. 

The Pioneers are back in action Tuesday night at home in a rare midweek non-conference matchup with Hofstra at 7:00 p.m. That night, Sacred Heart will be raising money for the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center on their annual Digg Pink night.