Shelley Walroth digs defense for JU

Oct. 26, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Freshman Shelley Walroth stands out on the volleyball court, and not just for wearing a different color jersey.

Walroth has become a rock in the back row for the JU defense, leading the team with 371 digs, as she looks to lead the Dolphins defensive efforts this weekend in two home matches against Atlantic Sun Conference rivals Campbell and Gardner-Webb.

The freshman is off to an impressive start in her collegiate career. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Walroth has already set the school record for most digs in a four-game match and is chasing the school record for digs in a season.

"Shelley is very enegertic and always wanting to learn," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "Her eyes are very good, which allows her to read the ball quickly. She's blessed with great quickness to get a spot in a hurry."

Her defensive prowress has been on display a great deal lately. She has recorded 10 digs or more in eight of the last nine matches, including her school-record 34 against UNF on Oct. 14. In the last six matches, she has racked up 20 digs or more four times.

Her chase with history continues this weekend as Walroth is just 15 digs away from tying Julie Heipp for fifth on the single-season list. She is just 94 away tying the school record of 465 set by Terri Hallenbeck in 1987.

Walroth enters the weekend ranked seventh in the league in digs, averaging 4.47 per game. Her play on the back row is a major reason why JU is ranked second in the A-Sun in opponents hitting percentage.

"I always tell our team that defense wins and loses game, along with our blockers, having someone like her on the back row is a great addition to our team," Kupferberg said. "She got off to a slow start, but she has really improved dramatically. Having her as the anchor of our serve receive has been a big boost for our team."

The Dolphins open the weekend on Friday against Campbell at 7:30 p.m. JU wraps up its A-Sun double-dip with Gardner-Webb coming to visit Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.

"We have an opportunity to solidify our spot in the conference tournament this weekend," Kupferberg said. "Campbell is a lot like us. They have strong blocking and strong serving, so it's going to be interesting to see who plays their game better. Gardner-Webb has some good wins this year and they come strong of late, so we're going to have our hands full."