The Dolphins (4-16, 2-5 A-Sun), who have played 16 of 20 contests on the road, start the trek at East Tennessee State at 7 p.m. They end the trip the next day against USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C., at 3 p.m.
“(Being on the road) is familiar to us,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We have been on the road for quite a while. Hopefully, we will take the experience from the preseason and be more comfortable in playing on the road. We are going to face two very good teams so we need to have our best ready to go.”
Last weekend, the Dolphins ended their home stand with five-set matches against Kennesaw State and Mercer. They fell to the Owls, but bounced back the next day by beating the Mercers.
“There is going to be a lot of five-match contests in our conference,” Collier said. “We are evenly matched with all of the A-Sun teams and just because we lost one five-set match, we know we have to be ready for another on the next day. That helped us knowing that we had another opportunity the next day to get back on the court and get our game together. I expect another weekend of close matches.”
Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh (14 kills, 19 digs) and junior Kendall Courtney (50 assists, 18 digs) each had double-doubles to lead the Dolphins. Strausbaugh also had four aces, while junior Alyssa Robertson each chipped in with 10 kills to help the cause. Robertson also came off the bench to play key roles in the Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast matches that week.
“Alyssa has been working really hard,” Collier said. “She stepped up for us in the preseason when Taylor (Nyquist) wasn’t able to play all the way yet. Alyssa jumped in and played middle blocker for us against FGCU which she hasn’t done since high school. She is a great team player and one of the reasons why we beat Mercer.”
The Buccaneers (13-8, 4-3) picked up a 3-1 win against Mercer Tuesday to start the week. Megan Devine recorded her double-double to add to her team-lead in kills (318) and digs (274).
The Spartans (6-12, 1-5) took home losses to Northern Kentucky and Lipscomb last weekend. Kayla McAvoy has 203 kill to lead the offense, while Emily Sanders is at 257 digs and 457 assists.
In 2011, the Dolphins beat the Buccaneers in four, but fell in five sets to the Spartans on this same road stretch.
Fans can follow the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.