Volleyball hosts big matches this weekend

Oct. 11, 2007


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After winning a season-high six consecutive matches, the JU volleyball team (11-9, 5-1) continues Atlantic Sun Conference play at Swisher Gymnasium and will look to entrench themselves at the top of the conference standings.

The Dolphins begin the week against defending champion Belmont (14-6, 4-1) on Friday at 7 p.m., before ending the weekend against Lipscomb (10-9, 3-2) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

JU's contest against Belmont is available through ASun.TV on

Very nice...high five!
Senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant is one of the hottest tickets on the national market these days when it comes to playing defense at the net.

The Oakley, Calif. native recently checked in at fifth place in the national rankings with an average of 1.70 blocks per game. But individually, she is second nationally with 119 total blocks, two behind Endia Oliver of Tennessee State.

In a different perspective of her dominance in the A-Sun, she has surpassed the 100 block plateau (119) which is 38 ahead of Jen Darty of Mercer (81), who sits in second place.

Merchant also re-established herself in the JU record book by claiming the match high block record with 15 at ETSU on Sept. 21.

Family tradition
Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth is the single-season digs leader at JU and is second in the A-Sun with an average of 5.90 digs per game.

She has also finished with 30 digs on four occasions this season, including a season-high 32 against Butler and No. 23 Dayton.

Not only that, but Walroth joins fellow teammate Mellisa Merchant in the national rankings as she moved up to the 15th spot. Even more interesting is the fact she has company in the national rankings for digs by a member of the family.

Her sister, Julie, is a senior libero at Evansville and is currently ranked ninth in the nation with an average of 6.22 digs per game.

JU is currently on a currently on a season- high six game winning streak which is the longest under head coach Shaun Kupferberg...against Gardner-Webb, JU had four players finish with a double-double for the first time this season. The Dolphins had five players tally double digits in kills for the first time this season. JU also had five players tally double digits in digs for the second time this season (No. 23 Dayton)...senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant finished with 10 blocks, which marked the third time this season in which she recorded at least 10 blocks in a contest..junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf finished the week with 35 kills, 4.38 kpg, a .241 hitting percentage, 21 digs and 2.62 digs per game.

Above the net
The Dolphin's first line of defense is setting the standard for the A-Sun and no one else is even close.

JU leads the conference with 2.94 blocks per game, which also ranks them 30th in the nation. The next team in the conference standings, Florida Gulf Coast, checks in with an average of 2.15 blocks per game.

A big jump in the rankings came at the hands of New Orleans as JU's 23 blocks against the Privateers tied a program record which was set by the squad last season at East Tennessee State (Oct. 5). The Dolphins followed up that effort with 20 blocks at ETSU (Sept. 21).

JU has tallied double figures in blocks in 10 games and have been out blocked by only two opponents this season - No. 23 Dayton (12-9) and Campbell (9-6).

ASun.TV now available
The JU Dolphins made their debut on ASun.TV against No. 8 Washington on Sept. 14 and more matches remain. To sign up to view any of the contests, or any other packages offered, log onto

ASun.TV events will be available for viewing both live and via on-demand replay to fans throughout the country that purchase a Single Event Pass ($5.99 per event), a monthly All-Event Pass ($9.99 per month), or an annual All-Event pass ($69.99 per year). Both the annual and monthly All- Event Passes allow unlimited access to games within their respective timeframes.

Among the remaining matches on the 2007 schedule are Belmont (Oct. 12), UNF (Oct. 26/Nov. 8) and Savannah State (11/1).