Volleyball takes care of Mercer, 3-0

Sept. 28, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf finished with a match-high 11 kills while senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant added a match-high nine blocks to lead the JU volleyball team to a win over Mercer, 3-0 (30-20, 30-18, 30-19), Friday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference action at the Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (8-9, 2-1) tallied 14 blocks in the contest as the Dolphins notched their season-high third straight win. Mercer (3-13, 1-1) managed only a .000 (29-29-112) hitting percentage in the contest, including a negative percentage in the first two games.

"We have continued to play well for six straight games counting back to UNC Asheville," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "This is a big win for us because Mercer is a good team and they opened conference with a big win over Lipscomb."

Bendorf recorded her 12th double figure kill effort of the season while hitting .242 (11-3-33) from the floor. Merchant, who entered the contest ranked 12th in the nation in blocks, finished the match with an average of 3.0 kpg and surpassed 100 blocks for the season (102). Freshman setter Hannah Munneke had her most efficient match as a collegian by setting 37 assists while finishing the contest with no errors.

Freshman outside hitters Brittany Lehman, Aidan Yeager and Abby Gruenbacher each finished with eight kills to help the JU offense. Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth, who entered the contest ranked 16th in digs, racked up a match-high 20 digs. Senior outside hitter Katie Hendrian also chipped in with a match-high three aces.

"We played well from start to finish and consistency has always been the big question for us," Kupferberg said. "This is the first match that we played well through an entire contest."

Karen Dorris led the Bears with nine kills as Mercer only had three players record at least five kills in the match. Clarie Tucker led the defense with 18 digs while Libby Hansch and Julie Darty each recorded three blocks.

In game one, JU used a 5-0 run to take a 6-1 lead after an attack error by Julie Darty. The Dolphins pushed the advantage to 13-5 with a 6-1 run, capped by an attack error by Erica Vrvilo. Mercer would cut the advantage to 16-12 with a kill by Dorris but the Dolphins answered with a 5-2 run to push the lead to 21-14 after an ace by Walroth. JU would put the finishing touches on the game as the Bears never got closer than seven points.

In game two, the Dolphins led from start to finish, beginning with an 11-4 start, which was fueled by three Hendrian aces. JU opened up a 24-9 lead after three consecutive attack errors by the Bears as the Dolphins cruised the remainder of the way to open up a 2-0 lead.

In the final frame, both team battled through four ties and two lead changes until JU used a 4-0 run to lead 10-6 on a ball handling error by Chelsea Gebben. Mercer cut the margin to three (15-12) after a kill by Dorris but the Dolphins answered with a 6-1 run to lead 21-13 on a kill by Bendorf. JU would finish off the match with a 9-6 advantage as the Bears never got any closer than six points (21-15) for the remainder of the game.

JU will complete its weekend against Kennesaw State on Saturday at 5 p.m. in Swisher Gymnasium.