THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2007
Volleyball defeats Gardner-Webb, 3-1, to open A-Sun Tourney

Nov. 15, 2007

Box Score

MACON, Ga.d - GALLERY

The Dolphins were at full strength for the first time in four matches as freshman outside hitter Aidan Yeager tallied a team-high 16 kills to lead the JU volleyball team to a win over No. 6 Gardner-Webb, 3-1 (30-27, 30-27, 32-34, 30-17), Thursday evening in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at the University Center.

JU (18-12) will advance to face No. 3 East Tennessee State on Friday at 5 p.m. after finishing with match highs in hitting percentage (.222), digs (84) and blocks (12). Junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf and freshman outside hitter Brittany Lehman made their return to the Dolphin lineup after missing a combined seven matches to end the regular season.

GWU (14-18) finished hitting .119 as a team and had 13 receiving errors in the contest.

"It was a good match and we seem to be clicking right away despite having a few players miss some time," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferburg. "We were able to put everyone back at their normal spots with Sara and Brittany coming back and we played really good defense tonight."

Yeager hit .342 (16-3-38) in the match while also tallying four blocks. Freshman setter Hannah Munneke, who is 26 assists away from the single season record, tallied her team-leading 11th double-double with 55 assists and 10 digs. Bendorf added 15 kills, nine digs, four aces and three blocks while freshman middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher rounded the JU offense with 13 kills while chipping in with four blocks.

Senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant finished with eight kills and a match-high seven blocks. Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth tallied a season-high 35 digs to continue her stellar play in the postseason. Senior outside hitter Katie Hendrian also added 12 digs to round out the Dolphin defense.

Ashley Pridgeon led the Bulldogs with a match-high 23 kills and 10 digs while Audra Harrison added a team-high 22 digs. Katie Maytkowski (19), Regina Feagin (16) rounded out the double digit digs for the defense and Bethany Martin added a team-high four blocks.

In game one, JU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after an ace by Munneke but GWU used a 3-0 run to tie the match after an attack error by the Dolphins. JU went up 5-3 after an ace by Bendorf but the Bulldogs answered back with a 4-1 run to take a 7-6 advantage on a kill by Martin. JU retook the lead, 9-8, after a block by Gruenbacher and Munneke before a kill by Merchant made it 13-11. Mercer evened the score, 13-13, after an ace by Harrison but JU used a 3-0 run, capped by a Bendorf ace to make it a 16-13 lead.

The Dolphins increased the margin to 19-15 after a kill by Yeager before making it a 22-17 advantage after a kill by Bendorf. GWU cut the deficit to 23-20 on a kill by Martin but JU answered with a 3-1 run, capped by a Bendorf kill, to push the lead back to 26-21. Trailing, 29-21, the Bulldogs used a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 29-27 but a Merchant kill gave JU a 1-0 lead.

In the second frame, JU took an early 5-2 lead after a kill by junior outside hitter Kesley Clark but GWU used a 6-2 run to take an 8-7 lead on an attack error by the Dolphins. JU retook the lead, 12-11, after a set error by the Bulldogs but GWU bounced back with a 4-1 run to take a 15-13 advantage. The Dolphins answered with a 5-0 run, capped by a block by Merchant and Yeager, to take an 18-15 lead.

JU increased the margin to 23-19 on a block by Merchant and Bendorf but the Bulldogs answered with a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to 23-22. The Dolphins answered with a 3-1 run, capped by a Bendorf kill, to make it 26-22 but the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 26-24. JU outscored GWU, 4-3, to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

In game three, GWU took an early 4-1 lead after a kill by Heidi Stienebrunner but JU evened the contest, 10-10, after a kill by Bendorf. The Bulldogs took a 13-10 lead after a block by Pridgeon and Martin and then increased the margin to 16-12 after an attack error by the Dolphins. JU used a 4-0 run to even the contest, 16-16, and then took an 18-17 lead after an attack error by the Bulldogs.

The Dolphins increased the margin to 20-18 after a kill by freshman middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher and then made it 23-20 after a bad pass by Matykowski. The Bulldogs evened the contest, 24-24, after an attack error by the Dolphins and then took a 25-24 lead on a kill by Martin. GWU increased the lead to 28-26 on a kill by Steinebrunner but JU used a 3-1 run to even the contest, 29-29, after an attack error by the Bulldogs. After trading points, GWU cut the match to 2-1 with a 34-32 win.

In the final game, GWU took an early 3-1 lead but JU used a 7-0 run, capped by a block by Yeager and Merchant, to take a 7-3 advantage. The Dolphins increased the lead to 10-4 on a kill by Yeager and then pushed the margin to 13-5 on a kill by Gruenbacher. The Dolphins made it 16-6 on an ace by Gruenbacher and then increased the margin to 21-10 on a kill by Yeager. JU increased the margin to 27-15 after a kill by Bendorf and finished off the game with a 3-2 run to take the match.

JU will next compete in the semifinals against No. 2 ETSU on Friday at 5 p.m. at the University Arena. All tournament matches can be seen live on www.judolphins.com as part of ASun.TV.