Volleyball rally for 3-2 win over Campbell

Oct. 27, 2006

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - There are comebacks and then there are ones that come from nowhere.

After two games, the JU volleyball team was left for dead. But somebody forgot to tell the Dolphins as they battled back to win the final three games for a 3-2 Atlantic Sun Conference win over Campbell on Friday night at Swisher Gymnasium.

Melissa Merchant led the JU offensive effort in the Dolphins (13-11, 4-2 A-Sun) fourth straight win with a match-high 23 kills, including six in the final game. Five Dolphins finished in double figures in digs, led by Shelley Walroth's 20.

The Camels (10-14, 2-5 A-Sun) got 17 kills from Femi Aabi and 20 digs from Melissa Harvey. Campbell's defense was stifling early as the Camels finished the match with 17 blocks, with nine by Rachel Templin (4 solo and 5 assists).

"We struggled in the first two games, but the girls never gave up," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferbeg. "Our offense finally came alive in the third game and we made enough plays to get to a fifth game. Melissa got in a groove and nothing was stopping her from getting us the win."

Campbell took advantage of JU's mistakes to take game one, 31-29. The Camels racked up seven blocks in the game, including three solo blocks from Rachel Templin, in forcing JU into 13 attack errors. The see-saw game saw Campbell take the largest lead, 18-14, before the Dolphins rallied with six of the next seven points to take a 20-19 lead.

JU was able to keep that momentum going, building a 25-22 lead at one point before the Camels roared back with the next four points. With the game tied at 29, Campbell scored the final two points to win the game.

The Dolphins came busting out of the blocks in game two, building a 14-8 lead before the Camels answered - scoring seven of the next eight points to tie the game at 15. The two teams traded the lead back and forth until Campbell broke a tie at 22 with three straight points to go ahead 25-22.

JU came right back, scoring the next three points to tie the game at 25. Campbell was unfazed, sealing the game by scoring five of the next seven points to take a commanding 2-0 lead, 30-27.

The third game saw both teams trade the lead numerous times until JU turned a tie at 20 into a 25-21 lead. Campbell cut the deficit back to two, but JU was able to stave off the rally to force a fourth game with a 30-27 win. After some struggles early, the Dolphins put up 19 kills to get back into the match.

Game four continued the heavyweight battle as the two traded punches through the game. JU broke a tie at 12 by scoring three straight only to see Campbell answer with four in a row to take the lead at 16-15. The Dolphins came right back to take a 20-17 and never looked back in forcing a deciding game with a 30-23 win.

The JU had a balanced attack in game four, getting 12 kills while holding the Camels to a paltry .077 hitting percentage - highlighted by three JU blocks.

The final game belonged to Merchant. She put the Dolphins on her back and they rode her to the finish line as she had six kills in the game as JU ran away the game, 15-8, to clinch the match.

The Dolphins also got 12 kills from Stevenique Richardson while Katie Hendrian got a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs. Una Dzalba came off the bench to dish out 27 assists in the final three games to help the comeback.

Defensively, JU got 19 digs from Petya Borisova, 17 from Eva Stoilova and 13 from Amanda Youell.

The Camels offense got 15 kills from Templin and 10 from Ashley Weers, who got a double-double with 14 digs along with seven blocks.

Sarah Dillon had 18 digs, while Sarah Hill had 16 to help in the defensive effort for Campbell. Dillon dished out 32 assists in directing the Camels' offense.

The Dolphins wrap up their A-Sun home schedule on Saturday against Gardner-Webb. First serve is set for 2 p.m.