After defeating Cambell to reclaim its own destiny for the postseason, the JU volleyball team (14-15, 4-5 A-Sun) will face cross-town rival UNF (6-21, 3-6) for all the marbles on Friday at 7 p.m. in the regular-season finale.
The Ospreys, who also defeated Campbell to keep its postseason hopes alive, also need a win to secure a spot in the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship in Fort Myers, Fla.
With all the postseason implications, the intensity will be increased as part of the SunTrust River City Rumble battle for the Old Wooden Barrel.
The match will be available on ASun.TV by logging onto JUDolphins.com.
JU has earned a bid to the A-Sun Tournament in every season since joining the conference in 1999. The last time a Dolphin team did not make the postseason as a member of a conference was in 1997...the Dolphins have not won a conference match on the road this season...with a win over Campbell, the Dolphins won back-to-back conference matches for only the second time this season...with two losses in Nashville, the Dolphins fell to 4-6 all-time in the Music City since Lipscomb joined the A-Sun in 2002. It was also the second time JU lost both matches on the road since 2006...by rallying for a 3-2 win over UNF, the Dolphins increased their record to 4-2 in five set matches...with a 3-1 win over USC Upstate, the Dolphins snapped a three-match losing streak in conference play. It marked the longest losing streak in conference play since head coach Shaun Kupferberg’s first season with the program (2006)...with a pair of losses in Georgia, JU had its five-match winning streak snapped. It was also the first loss to Kennesaw State in program history and the first loss at Mercer since joining the A-Sun in 1998...the Dolphins’ seven true freshmen in 2010 is the most on a roster since joining the A-Sun in 1998. The closest number was six during the 2003 season...JU played 14 matches away from Swisher Gymnasium to start the 2010 season. It’s the longest road stretch to start the season since joining the A-Sun in 1998.
A-Sun Tournament field taking shape
With one match remaining in the 2010 regular season for JU, five of the six spots have been claimed thus far and the Dolphins need to defeat cross-town rival UNF to get an opportunity to play in Fort Myers, Fla.
Lipscomb (9-0) claimed another regular season title and Kennesaw State (8-1) will join the Bisons with a bye in the first round of the tournament as the top two seeds.
Belmont (7-2), ETSU (6-3) and Mercer (6-3) will each battle for seeding but have already punched their ticket for the postseason.
Campbell (4-6) has completed its schedule and does not own a tiebreaker with JU or UNF.
This leaves only JU (4-5) and UNF (3-6) for the final seed in the tournament. It’s very simple at this point, win and you are in.
Yeager-bomb looking for one more round
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.
In her fourth year with the program, Yeager has found her way into the JU career record books due to her abilities at the net.
With two blocks vs. New Mexico on Sept. 18, Yeager surpassed Melissa Merchant (281, 2006-07) for second on the JU career list for blocks assists. She is now 31 shy of Danielle Neville’s (2002-05) program record of 353.
She also moved into the top three in total career blocks with 332 - surpassing Merchant (316) for fourth with three blocks against ETSU on Oct. 15 and Ruth Terry (330, 1990-92) for fourth with a block at Lipscomb on Oct. 30. She now needs 45 more blocks to pass Gisela Anderson (376, 1986-89) to move into second.
Offensively, Yeager passed another milestone by becoming the sixth Dolphin to reach 1,000 career kills with 10 against Seattle on Oct. 22. She passed Sara Bendorf (1,006 - 2006-08) for fifth on the all-time list with six kills at Belmont on Oct. 29 and now needs 73 kills to move past Eva Stoilova (1,103, 2003-06) for fourth.
Yeager currently ranks eighth in the A-Sun with 0.32 aces per set and ninth with a .276 hitting percentage.
Lehman hitting her stride
One of the players flying under the radar throughout her four-year career has been senior outside hitter/middle blocker Brittany Lehman.
Due to her versatility, the Colleyville, Texas native has never had a niche in the program but her numbers have been rounding out nicely in recent weeks.
Since returning to the starting lineup on a regular basis on Oct. 8, Lehman has produced four double-double efforts while leading the squad with 89 kills and 2.87 kills per set.
Despite sitting out two matches last week to save her strength for the stretch run, Lehman currently ranks second on the squad with 2.45 kills per set and third with 211 kills.
Hannah is still money
Another player who’s career was altered this season but is still going to leave her mark on the program record books is senior defensive specialist Hannah Munneke.
Munneke, who served as JU’s setter in her first three years, earned A-Sun all-freshman team accolades after setting the program single-season assists record with 1,356. She currently sits fourth on the all-time list with 2,945 career assists.
This season, she has moved to a defensive/serving role off the bench in order to make room for the arrival of freshman Kendall Courtney.
Despite making a position change, Munneke has proven her worth as a consistent player and she will find her name in the top five for career sets played after her career is over.
Entering tonight’s contest, she currently sits fifth on the all-time list with 428 sets played.
After a slow start to her 2010 freshman campaign, setter Kendall Courtney is developing into the field general for an improving Dolphin offense and is the fresh new face in the A-Sun.
Through her first 10 matches, Courtney started to adjust to the college game and her stats proved it by averaging 8.78 assists per set while the Dolphins hit .157 as a team.
In her next 10 matches, Courtney picked up the pace with 10.83 assists per set while the Dolphin offense increased their output to .246.
In her last nine matches, she is tailing off a little bit with 10.2 assists per set while the team has also slid slightly with a .223 hitting percentage.
With 1,072 assists, the Houston native has cracked the top five in the JU single-season assists list. With 54 assists at FAMU on Nov. 6, Courtney surpassed Michelle Glover (1,006, 1991) for fifth and needs only 52 to surpass Aiko Beltran (1,123, 1997) for fourth.
She currently ranks fourth in the A-Sun with 9.93 assists per set and leads conference with 0.46 aces per set and 50 aces.
Here’s to you Ms. Robertson
Freshman middle blocker Alyssa Robertson is an immediate impact player for the Dolphins and has quickly established herself as one of the best at her position in the A-Sun.
After a fast start to her collegiate season, Robertson hit a snag in the beginning of October and lost her starting position while she worked on her technique. The time was well spent as she returned to the starting lineup on Oct. 22 and is playing her best ball of the season.
Since Oct. 22, she is averaging 2.54 kills per set, 1.05 blocks per set and is hitting .391. Robertson also enjoyed her best match of the season at FAMU on Nov. 6 with 21 killls, seven blocks and a .447 (21-4-38) hitting percentage.
Thus far in 2010, the Pompano Beach, Fla. native leads the squad with 86 blocks and is second with 1.04 blocks per set and a .304 hitting percentage. The blocks per set average places her third and hitting percentage places her fifth in the A-Sun.
Robertson also ranks fourth on the squad with 166 kills, two kills per set while also ranking fourth with 0.19 aces per set.