After hitting .379 (14-3-29) in the second set, the Dolphins (4-19, 2-8 A-Sun) hit less than .100 in the final two sets to suffer their third straight loss.
The Norse (19-4, 7-3) had four players with double-digits, led by Kelly Morrissey and Jenna Ruble at 13. Haley Lippert had 12 kills and Shelby Buschur finished with 10 kills to help the cause.
“This was a frustrating loss,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We played so well early, but we let things get away from us. We need to shake this one off and be ready for another tough match tomorrow.”
Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh (16 kills, 12 digs) and junior Kendall Courtney (46 assists, 16 digs) each had double-doubles to pace JU. Freshman Gabriela Roman tallied 15, while junior Kyle Jacob recorded nine kills and five blocks in the loss.
In the first set, the Norse took an 11-7 lead on consecutive JU errors which forced a Dolphins timeout. The Dolphins chipped away at the deficit until pulling within one, 20-19, on an attack error. JU picked up a 23-22 advantage on a Strausbaugh kill and Norse error. After a NKU timeout, the Dolphins got set point on another error before Jacob had a kill to give JU a 1-0 lead.
In the second set, Roman and Strausbaugh combined for three straight kills to give JU an early 12-7 lead. Two Roman kills later helped the Dolphins extend the lead to 19-11. The Norse was able to pull closer with a Ruble kill and consecutive JU errors for a 21-16 deficit. After a JU timeout, Strausbaugh picked up a kill and closed the set with an ace to extend the Dolphins advantage to 2-0.
The Dolphins opened the third set with an 11-7 lead from a Roman kill. NKU used a 9-3 run, capped on two Morrissey kills, to grab a 16-14 advantage. The Dolphins got within one twice, but the Norse kept their lead and closed the set on two more Morrissey points to get on the board.
In the fourth set, three straight NKU attack errors helped JU close an early deficit to 14-10. The Dolphins got it to 18-16 on a kill from sophomore Taylor Nyquist, but the Norse used a 7-3 stretch to take the set.
In the fifth set, a block from Courtney and Jacob tied a back-and-forth battle at 10. The Norse created some distance with a Morrissey kill and two JU errors for a 13-10 lead. JU got within two points twice before Ruble recorded a kill to complete the NKU comeback.
The Dolphins host Lipscomb tomorrow in an A-Sun match at 5 p.m., in Swisher Gymnasium. There will also be a free kids clinic following the match for boy’s and girl’s ages 10-18.