Volleyball set for two-game homestand

Oct. 19, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's been a while since the Jacksonville volleyball team has played at home. More than three weeks to be exact.

But the Dolphins will be relying on their home-court advantage for the first time in Atlantic Sun Conference play this weekend as JU faces two crucial matches, starting Friday against Stetson at 7:30 p.m.

JU (9-11, 1-2 A-Sun) then faces Mercer on Saturday at 3 p.m.

"We are glad that we finally get to play a conference match at home and especially since we've been on the road so much this year," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "We are just trying to get back on our feet. We want to finish the second half of the season strong to get momentum for the conference tournament."

The Dolphins are coming off a 3-1 loss to rival North Florida last week in the SunTrust River City Rumble. JU has stumbled out of the gates in A-Sun play, dropping a 3-2 decision on the road against East Tennessee State to open conference play.

"Any time you get into conference play, the matches take on greater importance and intensity level goes up," Kupferberg said. "With a veteran group like we have, they know what it takes to compete in this league and they have really stepped up in practice this week."

While the defense has been sterling, getting a school-record performance in digs from Shelley Walroth against UNF, the offense is looking for a spark. JU has fallen off in its two losses, hitting less than .200. Prior to that, the Dolphins had been rolling - racking up at least a .300 hitting percentage in four of the previous five matches.

"We're going to try some new lineups and give some people more swings than we have lately," Kupferberg said. "We need a complete team effort for us to succeed this weekend."