Volleyball hosts rival North Florida Friday
Junior Kylie Jacob
Junior Kylie Jacob
For the first time in two months, the JU volleyball team will not have to go far to compete when it hosts cross-town rival North Florida Friday for the home opener in Swisher Gymnasium at 7 p.m.

The Dolphins (3-13, 1-2 A-Sun), who started with 16 straight road matches, also play Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 2), Kennesaw State (Oct. 5) and Mercer (Oct. 6) at home within the coming week.

This match against the Ospreys (8-7, 0-3) will also count toward the annual SunTrust River City Rumble battle.

“The girls are super excited to play at home,” JU head Michelle Collier said. “We are in this gym every day so we know the ins and outs of it and it’s where we feel comfortable. We can’t wait to get our students and our supporters here in Swisher to have a fun atmosphere to play at.”

JU ended its long road stretch Sept. 25 with a 3-0 win (25-21, 25-19, 25-17) at Stetson in DeLand, Fla.

Freshman Gabriela Roman had 11 kills and nine digs to lead the Dolphins offense. Sophomore Taylor Nyquist added 10 kills, while junior Kendall Courtney recorded 31 assists and 12 digs to help the cause.

Count junior Kylie Jacob, who had six kills and three blocks Tuesday, as one of several Dolphins that are excited to be at home and have the home-court advantage.

“I am really excited, especially since it’s against UNF,” Jacob said. “We are hoping to have a really good turnout with some JU and UNF fans. We love playing in front of our students and our families because it gives a good home-court advantage. We are definitely trying to get a lot of people to come to this.”

Despite losing the last three matches, the Ospreys have been a thorn in JU’s side the last two seasons.

UNF beat JU on the final day of the 2010 season to steal away the last send into the A-Sun Tournament.

In 2011, the Dolphins were up 2-0 handily in each of the regular-season matches before the Ospreys rallied to take the final three sets both times for the wins. JU again had a chance to earn the final spot into the A-Sun Tournament on the final day against FGCU, but lost in five sets allowing UNF to take the last seed.

“We are definitely going to be competitive this game,” Jacob said. “We played a lot better this past Tuesday so hopefully we can bring that momentum into Friday. I feel like we are going to need that momentum and a lot of energy to play them because it’s going to be exciting match.”

“They are a very good team,” Collier said on UNF. “They have been playing very well during the preseason. They are very consistent. They have good attackers all around and a good libero so they will be tough to beat. They are definitely a challenge in every way but our girls are fired up and ready for it.”

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