Volleyball dives into Atlantic Sun Conference play on Thursday

Oct. 4, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Being on the road is something that the JU volleyball team is accustomed to this season.

Having played just five matches at home so far, the Dolphins are no strangers to the trials and tribulations of life on the road. While the road experience is nothing new, the Dolphins are riding a hot streak, having won four of their last five matches.

But now, the Dolphins will need to keep that momentum going as each game takes on added meaning as JU opens Atlantic Sun Conference play on Thursday in Johnson City, Tenn., against East Tennessee State at 7 p.m.

JU is coming off a split this past weekend at home in the Dolphins first matches in Swisher Gymnasium in a month. The JU offense was paced by senior Stevenique Richardson, who led the Dolphins with 22 kills in the two matches.

"The team has had a great week of practice coming off a disappointing weekend," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "I think that we are finally starting to understand the effort and intensity it takes to play at a higher level. Hopefully we can maintain this level for the rest of the year and continue to build our skill level."

The Dolphins first match of the weekend pits JU against A-Sun up-and-comer East Tennessee State. The Bucs are off to an impressive start, going 13-5 and already has a 2-0 record in the A-Sun.

"East Tennessee State is a fundamentally sound, veteran team that will be a tough match-up for us," Kupferberg said. "Their middle hitters have been dominant this year and they have beaten quality opponents throughout the pre-season. They are well coached and it will be a great way to open our conference schedule."

JU wraps up the weekend against Kennesaw State, a first-year program. The young Owls are 1-14 on the season and are off to an 0-2 start in league play.

"Kennesaw is a scrappy team that can come up with some big wins this year," Kupferberg said. "We just have to make sure we stay on our toes and play within our system."