Volleyball upsets ETSU to advance to A-Sun Championship game

Nov. 17, 2006

Box Score

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the regular season, the JU volleyball team lost to the top three teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference in tight matches.

The revenge tour began in earnest on Friday night as the Dolphins (17-14) rallied from a 2-1 deficit, fighting off two match points, to knock off the regular season champions, ETSU (25-7), 3-2.

The Dolphins got 19 kills apiece from Katie Hendrian and Melissa Merchant, along with 17 kills from Stevenique Richardson and 11 from Eva Stoilova. Stoilova picked up her second straight double-double with 20 digs.

"I'm so proud of how the girls fought back to win this match," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "The fifth game just showed the character of this team. They didn't give up, they stayed focused and executed our game plan. We're going to get some rest and come back tomorrow and try to win the title."

JU opened the match with authority, taking game one 30-17. The Dolphins defense set the tone, getting three blocks and held the Bucs to just 13 kills and a .043 hitting percentage.

Richardson had four kills and two blocks in the game while Hendrian, Merchant and Stoilova each had two kills apiece.

ETSU battled back to take game two, 30-28. After falling behind early 8-3, JU came back to tie the game at 19, but couldn't finish off the comeback. The Bucs racked up 22 kills, hitting .409 for the game. The Dolphins tried to match on offense, getting 19 kills and hitting .348, but the defense only had one block in the game.

Game three started as a slugfest, but quickly turned towards ETSU. With the game tied at six, the Bucs scored went on a 7-1 run to take a 13-7 lead. JU was able to cut the deficit to one on two occasions, but was unable to get even again as the Bucs took a 2-1 lead with a 30-23 win.

The Dolphin offense, which had been very effective in the first two games, was quiet in the third game. JU had just 12 kills and hit under .100 for the first time in the match.

Game four turned into a shootout with JU scoring the final four points, fighting off two match points, to win 31-29 to force a fifth game.

The Dolphins offense pounded out 22 kills in the game, but none bigger than Richardson's two kills at the end of the game - including the game winner to send JU into a fifth game.

And game five belonged to JU. With the game tied at six, the Dolphins out scored ETSU 9-2 to knock off the No. 1 seed, 15-8. Jacksonville had 12 kills in the game on just 18 attacks, hitting an amazing .667 to advance to the finals.

Shelley Walroth recorded 36 digs for JU while Una Dzalba dished out 63 assists and 13 digs.

Callie Kiselich had 24 kills to lead three ETSU players who had at least 20 kills. Jennifer Sartor had 21 kills and 16 digs while Crystal Palmer had 20. Setter Jennifer Emerson had 67 assists.

The Dolphins will face the winner of the Belmont-Lipscomb game for the title on Saturday at 2 p.m. (EST).