Volleyball embarks on three-match road trip this week

Oct. 17, 2007


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After having its season-high seven match winning streak snapped, the JU volleyball team (12-10, 6-2) will embark on a pair of non-conference road matches before diving back into A-Sun action to end the weekend.

The Dolphins three-day stretch begins against Bethune-Cookman (5-9) on Thursday at 7 p.m. JU faces A-Sun newcomer Florida Gulf Coast (16- 2, 6-1) for a non-conference match on Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on Stetson (7-13, 2-5) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

JU's contest at Florida Gulf Coast is available through ASun.TV on

Still in the Top 5 list
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 is tied for fifth in the national rankings with an average of 1.67 blocks per game. In total blocks, she is second nationally with 130, six behind Endia Oliver of Tennessee State.

In a different perspective of her dominance in the A-Sun, she has surpassed the 100 block plateau (130) which is 45 ahead of Jen Darty of Mercer (85).

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 Circus
Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth is the single-season digs leader at JU and is second in the A-Sun with an average of 5.84 digs per game.

She has also finished with 30 digs on four occasions this season, including a season-high 32 twice.

Not only that, but Walroth joins fellow teammate Mellisa Merchant in the national rankings as she stayed pat in 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 fifth in the nation with an average of 6.40 digs per game.  Notes

JU had its seven game winning streak snapped, which was the longest under head coach Shaun Kupferberg. Against Belmont, JU had four players finish with double figure kills. Junior outside hitter Sara 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. Freshman setter Hannah 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.

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 2.90 blocks per game, which also ties them for 34th in the nation. The next team in the conference standings, Florida Gulf Coast, checks in with an average of 2.23 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 11 matches 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 Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 19), UNF (Oct. 26/Nov. 8) and Savannah State (11/1).