Volleyball makes it seven with 3-1 win over Belmont

Oct. 12, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf and freshman setter Hannah Munneke each tallied double-doubles to push JU volleyball's season-high winning streak to seven matches as the Dolphins defeated Belmont in an extremely competitive contest, 3-1 (31-29, 27-30, 30-28, 30-28), Friday evening in front of a Homecoming inspired crowd at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (12-9, 6-1) had four players finish with double figure kills to extend its longest winning streak under head coach Shaun Kupferberg while tallying a match-high .267 (69-23-172) hitting percentage, 83 digs and nine blocks.

Belmont (14-7, 4-2) dropped its second conference match in consecutive weekends despite both squads combining for 15 lead changes, 34 ties and the largest margin of victory being three points in a four-game match.

"We played like champions tonight against a championship team," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "We didn't get lucky with a win because we played with them and competed the whole time. Our performance wasn't perfect, but each individual stepped up for the last five points of each game. Unfortunately, we don't have time to rest because we have to play a talented Lipscomb squad tomorrow."

Bendorf tied a season-high with 22 kills and registered 13 digs to go along with a .327 (22-6-49) hitting percentage and three aces. Munneke dished out 55 assists and a season-high 20 digs to tally her team leading eighth double-double of the year. Senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant also added 14 kills, a match-high .440 (14-3-25) hitting percentage and six blocks.

Freshman outside hitter Brittany Lehman tallied 12 kills and nine digs while freshman outside hitter Abby Gruenbacher chipped in with 10 kills and three blocks. Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth tallied a match-high 25 digs and senior outside hitter Katie Hendrian added 10 digs to help solidify the back line.

"Sara and Hannah were awesome tonight and Melissa came up huge for us in game four," Kupferberg said. "Hannah stayed in the system more tonight and she is getting better every week for us. Brittany was solid and our outside hitters as a whole made solid contact all night."

Emily Cahill led the Bruins with 19 kills and a .395 (19-4-38) hitting percentage while Cat Mundy (13 ills, 12 digs) and Jenny Gray (15 kills, 13 digs) each tallied double-doubles. Colleen Nilson paced the offense with 58 assists while also racking up seven kills and seven digs. Jaye Schuler added 10 kills and six blocks while Megan Clements tallied 19 digs.

"Belmont is the defending conference champions and we know that we are going to have to play them on a neutral court in the conference tournament," said Kupferberg. "Our fans were a big help tonight but we need to get better in the next few weeks before we have to face them again."

In game one, both teams played through three ties in the early going until JU used a 7-2 run to open a 12-7 lead on an attack error by Schuler. The Bruins cut the margin to 16-15 after kill by Nilson but the Dolphins answered with a 5-0 run to make it 21-15 on a kill by Bendorf. Belmont came back again to tie the contest on three occasions, including a 3-0 run to make it 29-29, but JU got consecutive kills by Lehman and Bendorf to take a 1-0 lead.

In the second game, the match got even more heated with each squad battling through 12 ties and seven lead changes. Neither team held a lead larger than two points until an ace by Nilson gave the Bruins a 20-17 advantage. From there the Bruins used a 4-1 run to push the lead to 24-18 on an attack error by the Dolphins. JU came back to tie the contest on two occasions but Belmont used a 2-0 run to make it 28-26 after another attack error by the Dolphins. Belmont got consecutive kills by Mundy and Nilson to even the match.

In game three, the Dolphins fell behind 1-0 early but never trailed again in the frame despite the Bruins tying the score on two occasions and JU not holding a lead larger than six points (22-16). The Bruins used a late 3-0 run to cut the margin to 28-27 after a kill by Cahill, but the Dolphins took advantage of a Mundy service error and got a kill by Lehman to take a 2-1 lead heading into the break.

In the final frame, each team battled to the death once again with 14 ties and six lead changes in the game. JU held the largest advantage in the frame, 17-13, after a kill by freshman outside hitter Aidan Yeager but both teams never held an advantage larger than two points and battled through four lead changes for the remainder of the match. With the contest knotted at 28-28 after a kill by Mundy, the Dolphins answered once again with the one-two punch of Bendorf and Lehman to seal the match.

The Dolphins wrap up the weekend against Lipscomb (11-9, 4-2) at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Swisher Gymnasium.