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Macon, Ga. – Western Carolina freshman Merry Gebel recorded her fourth double-double of the season but the Catamounts were unable to fend off Mercer in a 3-1 loss to the Bears on Friday evening inside Hawkins Arena. The Bears won the match by scores of 21-25, 28-26, 25-23 and 25-20.

Mercer improves to 8-4 overall and 1-0 in the Southern Conference while Western Carolina drops to 6-7 and 0-2.

Gebel finished with 11 kills, putting her in double figures in kills for the fifth time this season. She finished with 13 digs and was one of three players to finish with 10 or more digs. MaKenzie White and Abigail Veit each recorded nine kills. Meagan Sanchez led the Catamounts with 18 digs, followed by Hannah Price with 15 and Gebel with 13. Price handed out a team-leading 17 assists and recorded a team-best two solo blocks.

Page Alsten led the Bears with 18 kills, followed by Brittany Major with 15 and Roberta Todd with 11. Amber Gibson was credited with 21 digs while Maddie Nunley had a match-best 50 assists.

Mercer led the first set 14-11 before an attack error evened the score at 16. After an Alsten kill tied the set at 21, a White kill sparked a 4-0 Catamount run to close out the set with a Gebel kill clinching the opening stanza for WCU. The opening set had six lead changes and 10 tie scores.

Western Carolina opened the second set on a 7-2 run but Mercer drew even at 13 thanks to an attack error. A Veit kill gave the Catamounts a 24-23 lead before consecutive kills gave the hosts a 25-24 edge. Following a service error that tied the score and offsetting points, the Bears claimed the second set with back-to-back kills by Alsten and Morey.

With the third set tied at 22, a Major kill and an attack error gave Mercer a 24-22 lead. An attack error kept the Catamounts alive before the set ended on a kill from Major.

After a neck-and-neck start to the fourth set, the Bears pulled ahead to an 18-11 advantage. The Catamounts crept to within four, 21-17, following a Veit kill but would get no closer for the remainder of the set.  

Western Carolina travels to The Citadel on Saturday with a 2 p.m. first serve.

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