Volleyball battles but falls to Florida A&M, 3-2
Freshman Cari Whitmire (center) had a seson-high 15 kills on Sunday.
Freshman Cari Whitmire (center) had a seson-high 15 kills on Sunday.
The JU volleyball team saw a comeback win elude its grasps in a 3-2 loss (25-27, 18-25, 25-18, 25-18, 13-15) to Florida A&M on Sunday in Swisher Gymnasium.

After losing the first two sets, the Dolphins (11-15) rallied to take the next two sets to force a final frame. JU rallied in the fifth set to tie it at 13-13 on serves from junior Nicole Teplitz, but the Lady Rattlers (6-12) got a kill and an attack error to quash the comeback.

Maria Ceccarelli recorded 25 kills to lead FAMU to its sixth win in the last seven matches. Marija Jovanovic added 15 kills, while Katherine Huanec had 14 kills to help the cause.

“We just fell a little short,” JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg said. “We dug ourselves a huge hole, but did a good job of battling back. Our goal is to work on the mistakes in practice as we get ready to play Mercer.”

Freshman Cari Whitmire totaled 15 kills to lead the JU offense. Sophomore Kyle Jacob and junior Alison Loeppky each tallied 10 kills. Sophomore Kendall Courtney finished with 41 assists.

Trailing 2-0 entering the third set, the Dolphins took a 7-3 edge on consecutive kills from Jacob. A Jovanovic kill helped bring the Lady Rattlers back to 13-10, but the Dolphins extended the lead to 18-13 on an attack error. JU later secured the set on a Whitmire kill and a FAMU error.

In the fourth set, the Dolphins raced out to a 7-2 advantage on a Huanec attack error. A JU attack error ended a 9-4 FAMU stretch to tie it at 11-11. The Dolphins found a rhythm with a 12-5 run, capped on a kill from sophomore Jenell Larson, to force a deciding set.

In the fifth set, a Whitmire error helped the Lady Rattlers take a 9-5 lead. The Dolphins closed the deficit to 11-9 on kills from Loeppky and freshman Nadia Booker. JU got another Booker kill and consecutive aces by Teplitz to gain a 13-12 lead. Teplitz recorded a service error, while a Pamela Barrera kill and an attack error gave FAMU the match.

The Dolphins return to the road on Saturday to play Mercer in Macon, Ga. at 3 p.m.