VOLLEYBALL BLOG: Niatha Cullen edition (10/25)
We knew coming out of a rough weekend that as a team, we needed to buckle down and get focused for our last three-day weekend of games.

As individuals, we improved our weaknesses and made each other stronger as the week went on. Our games against Lipscomb and Belmont were two of the toughest games on our 2011 schedule and we prepared ourselves for a dog fight. After falling in both matches, something had to change not only physically, but mentally as well.

We needed to strengthen our mentality quickly if we wanted to beat our hometown rival, North Florida. Of the three games this weekend, this was the only conference game and the one that mattered most.

We went up 2-0 against the Ospreys and were confident in where we stood, but soon that confidence once again had gotten the best of us. It was a well-fought game on both sides of the court, but in the end we weren’t able to finish as a team and ended up falling to UNF, 3-2. An outstanding performance by freshman Jenna Orner earned her the Dolphin award for the night. Not letting many attacks from the other side of the court fall was just what her job entitled her to do. That night we were questioned about our Dolphin Pride and had the things we took for granted taken away before our eyes.

Coming into Saturday’s game against Bethune-Cookman, we were ready to go and earn back what had been taken. Through the energy that had been brought onto the court and the energy that was given from the bench, we beat the Lady Wildcats, 3-1. Winning is team effort and with the 21 people throughout the JU program, it needed each one of us to do our job. Needless to say that freshman Cari Whitmire did her job just fine leading the Dolphins to victory with her presence on and off the court as she earned the Dolphin award. Slowly but surely, we’re proving our green and gold pride.

Sunday’s game against Florida A& M (FAMU) was one we might have taken for granted. We played the Lady Rattlers earlier this year and were successful coming out of Tallahassee with a win under our belts. This time around was a little different, we put ourselves in a situation of going to five games and unfortunately did not come out with the win we should have gotten. Coming off the bench and making a difference was sophomore Jenell Larsen who quickly gave us kills right off the bat to earn the Dolphin award.

Needless to say we had a rough weekend, one we wish had turned out better. With the losses behind us, now is the time to come together even more and work harder than we’ve ever worked before. We dug ourselves a hole, but there’s not a doubt in each Dolphin’s mind that together, we will succeed. We win as a team and we lose as a team, it’s just that simple. Stay tuned for our upcoming A-sun match against the Mercer Bears this Saturday. GO DOLPHINS!

- Niatha