The Dolphins (0-7) hit .206 and had 12 kills in the first set, but the Gators (4-2) hit better than .400 in the final two sets to get the win in front of the home crowd. JU was held to less than a .100 hitting average in sets two and three.
“We faced a very strong opponent tonight,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “I was proud of the way our team came out and competed in the first set. In next two sets, we let our energy level drop and lost our focus. It was good to see how well we competed at the start and we will continue to work hard to find our consistency.”
Florida got 13 kills from Ziva Recek to pace the offense. Tangerine Wiggs tallied nine kills, while Dana Backlund had 33 assists.
Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh had seven kills to lead JU for the sixth straight match. Junior Kendall Courtney recorded 21 assists and senior Alison Loeppky had five kills.
Trailing 7-2 in the first set, the Dolphins cut the deficit to 12-10 on consecutive kills by freshman Gabriela Roman and sophomore Taylor Nyquist. JU made it 14-11 on a Loeppky kill, but a service error gave it back to Florida. A small 5-1 stretch, capped on two Recek kills, extended the Gators lead to 23-15. The Dolphins got it to 24-18 on two Florida errors and a Strausbaugh before a Recek kill closed out the set in Florida’s favor.
In the second set, Recek capped a 10-5 run with a kill to help Florida build a 16-8 lead. The Dolphins added a Roman kill and earned a point on an error, but the Gators used a 6-1 run to finish the set.
In the final set, Florida built a 13-5 lead on two JU errors. The Dolphins cut the deficit to 17-10 on a Strausbaugh kill and two aces from senior Nicole Teplitz. The Gators closed the match on an 8-1 stretch to secure the win.
The Dolphins wrap the tournament tomorrow against Georgia Tech (10 a.m.) and Louisiana (5:30 p.m.). Fans can follow the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.