Entering the halfway point of its non-conference tournaments, the JU volleyball team will next play in the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic in Orlando, Fla.
The Dolphins will open the event on Friday at 11 a.m. in The Venue at UCF against Baylor and then end the day against FAU at 5:30 p.m. JU will close out the weekend on Saturday against host UCF at 1:30 p.m.
Baylor (4-3) finished 0-3 at the Diet Coke Minnesota Classic before rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat TCU on Tuesday.
FAU (6-2), a former member of the A-Sun, finished 3-1 at the Stetson Invitational last weekend.
UCF (6-0), another former member of the A-Sun, has swept the competition at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament and UNCW Classic in its first two weekends.
Each contest can be viewed through Gametracker while Saturday’s contest against UCF can be viewed through video streaming on JUDolphins.com.
JU’s 2-5 record is the worst start since the 2007 season, but the Dolphins finished that year with a 19-13 mark and a spot in the A-Sun Championship...the Dolphins are ending their weekends on a high note by going 2-0 in tournament finales...JU kept up its winning record in five-set matches (3-1 in 2009) by defeating Tennessee Tech, 3-2, in its first five-set match in 2010...the Dolphins’ seven true freshman in 2010 is the most on a roster since joining the A-Sun in 1998. The closest number was six during the 2003 season.
With an infusion of youth, there is a necessary need for veteran leadership and you can look no further than senior outside hitter Aidan Yeager.
The towering southpaw is off to a hot start in 2010 by leading the squad with 56 kills, 28 blocks and 1.22 blocks per set.
In her fourth year with the program, Yeager is finding her way into the JU career record books for her abilities at the net. She currently ranks third in career block assists with 270 and is 12 shy of surpassing Melissa Merchant (281, 2006-07) for second.
She is also 11 total blocks shy of surpassing Carrie Wendell (1995-98) for fifth on the all-time list.
Effective youth movement
Not only is the JU roster filled with seven true freshmen, but some of them are finding themselves in the starting lineup.
After the first weekend in the Big Orange Bash, setter Kendall Courtney, middle blocker Alyssa Robertson, and outside hitter Taylor Nyquist were all in the starting lineup during the weekend while outside hitter Niatha Cullen got some significant playing time in the win over Tennessee Tech (8/28).
Robertson and Courtney are making the biggest impacts thus far as Robertson was named to the Big Orange Bash all-tournament team while Courtney has taken over setting duties from senior Hannah Munneke (defensive specialist) and junior Ashley August (libero).
In the second weekend, Nyquist led the defensive effort by racking up a season-high 24 digs at Sacred Heart (9/4) and now leads the squad with 65 for the season.
Robertson named all-tournament
Freshman middle blocker Alyssa Robertson had a good start to her JU career by being named to the Big Orange Bash all-Tournament team after posting 24 kills, 2.18 kps, a .327 (24-8-49) hitting percentage and nine blocks in three matches.
She currently leads the squad with a .309 hitting percentage, 28 blocks and 1.22 blocks per set while also ranking third with 45 kills and fourth with 1.96 kills per set.