Volleyball defeats Providence, 3-0, to end tournament

Sept. 1, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Five Dolphins hit above .400 from the floor en route to a .415 hitting percentage for the contest as the JU volleyball team defeated Providence, 3-0 (30-20, 30-17, 30-27), Saturday evening in the final day of The Loop Pizza Grill Invitational at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (2-5) flirted with the program record for hitting percentage in a three-game match (.460 vs. Stetson last season) but fell off the pace in the third game (.333) after hitting .460 and .450, respectively, in the first two games. Providence (3-2) finished the contest hitting .104 (36-25-106) from the floor, including a negative effort in game two (10-11-36).

"We were very consistent offensively tonight with five players hitting over .400," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "We are starting to make the improvement that we need to make. We still need to reach our goal on service and serve receive but we are very excited to improve as the season progresses."

Senior middle hitter Melissa Merchant tallied 10 kills, three blocks and a .438 (10-3-16) hitting percentage while junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf finished with 10 kills, three aces and a .450 (10-1-20) hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Katie Hendrian (.800, 4-0-5), freshman middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher (.583, 7-0-12) and freshman outside hitter Aidan Yeager (.429, 4-1-7) rounded out the hot hitter for the Dolphins.

Freshman setter Hannah Munneke chipped in with 40 assists and eight digs while sophomore Michelle Walroth added 17 digs to lead the defense. Bendorf and Walroth were each selected to the all-tournament team.

Sarah Fleming led the Friars with 13 kills while Elizabeth Flynn tallied 12 kills and a .409 (12-3-22) hitting percentage. Sarah Sheehan added 26 while Kelly Krahenbuhl led the defense with 11 digs.

In game one, JU jumped out to an early 11-3 lead on the strength of three consecutive kills by freshman outside hitter Brittany Lehman and two straight attack errors by Kristen Halliday. The Dolphins made it 20-9 on an ace by Munneke and cruised the rest of the way as the Friars never got any closer than 10 points in the game.

In the second frame, the Dolphins kept up its hot pace by taking an early 10-6 lead before increasing the margin to 20-11 on a kill by Lehman. Providence battled back to within six points (22-16) but JU used an 8-1 run to end the game.

In the final game, the Friars went toe-to-toe with the Dolphins as the two squads combined for 11 tie scores and seven lead changes. Providence opened up a 7-5 advantage on a kill by Meredith Gent before JU retook the lead, 10-9, on a kill by Merchant. JU used a 6-1 run to pull away (16-10) but the Friars answered with a 9-2 run to lead 19-18 after an attack error by the Dolphins. Both teams would trade points to a 25-25 tie before the Dolphins used a 4-0 run to seal the match.

Presbyterian College won The Loop Pizza Grill Invitational title with a 3-0 record, which was sealed with a 3-2 win over The Citadel in the first evening match. JU finished second in tournament with a 2-1 record while Providence (1-2) and The Citadel (0-3) rounded out the rest of the field. The all-tournament team was made up of Rachel Sanders (The Citadel), Elizabeth Flynn (Providence), Rachel Lewis and Kelsey McKee (Presbyterian) and Sara Bendorf and Michelle Walroth (Jacksonville). Lauren Mason of Presbyterian was named MVP.

The Dolphins will open up the Black & Gold Challenge against Radford on Sept. 7 at 4:30 p.m. in Winston-Salem, N.C.