Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh led the Dolphins (6-20, 4-9 A-Sun) to their second straight win with 20 kills, eight digs and four blocks. Freshman Emily Laskelle (11) and junior Alyssa Robertson (9) each had double-digit kills off the bench, while junior Kylie Jacob tallied eight kills and five blocks to continue her steady play.
“This was a great way to start the weekend,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “Everyone came ready to play and it showed. We hope to continue this momentum tomorrow.”
Caroline Carlton and Molly Locke each had 12 kills to pace the Bears (9-14, 5-8) offense. JU held the Mercer offense to a .152 hitting percentage (46-23-151) and recorded 16 blocks.
In the first set, three aces from junior Kendall Courtney helped the Dolphins gain a 10- 0 lead. JU extended the lead to 12-2 from a kill by sophomore Taylor Nyquist. The Bears closed the gap to 13-8 on three straight JU errors. The Bears got within five two more times on errors until a kill from freshman Gabriela Roman made it a 23-16 advantage. Another Roman kill and an error helped JU take the set.
In the second set, the Bears opened with a big advantage, 10-3, from a JU error. A Courtney kill helped close the JU gap to 12-9. Mercer kept the lead for most of the set until three JU straight points, capped on Laskelle kill, got the Dolphins within one at 18-17. The Dolphins got within a point three more times before a Locke kill finally quashed JU’s rally to give Mercer the set.
In the third set, JU earned an 11-8 lead on kills from Strausbaugh and Jacob. A Mercer timeout helped them gain three quick points before JU used a 9-4 stretch to gain a 21-14 lead from a Laskelle kill. Two kills from Strausbaugh and an error ended the set in JU’s favor.
In the fourth set, two aces from Courtney gave the Dolphins a 12-6 lead. The Dolphins later built an 18-12 advantage from a block by Courtney and senior Alison Loeppky. Robertson had two of JU’s final seven points on kills to secure the win.
The Dolphins play at Kennesaw State tomorrow in Kennesaw, Ga., at 3 p.m. Fans can follow the action through the live links on JUDolphins.com.