The Norse (14-2, 2-1 A-Sun) hit better than .300 in the final three sets to continue their hot start in their first Division I season. The Dolphins (2-13, 0-2) had a respectable .252 hitting percentage, but were limited by 23 attack errors and 11 service errors.
“We beat ourselves today,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We played well in the final two sets, but it was too big of a hole to come back from. If we can find a way to start better then we can get on a roll.”
Haley Lippert added 13 kills for the Norse, while Kylee Tarantino (15), Anna Pickel (13) and Jayden Juilan (10) each recorded double-digit digs.
JU were led offensively in kills by freshmen Gabriela Roman (17) and freshman Sammie Strausbaugh (13). Junior Kendall Courtney had 44 assists and 14 digs, while senior Nicole Teplitz finished with 19 digs.
After falling in the first set, the Dolphins tied the second set at 7-all early on a Teplitz kill. The Norse pulled away with a 9-5 stretch, capped on an ace, to take a 16-12 lead. Following a timeout, Strausbaugh cut the deficit to 17-15 on a kill. The Dolphins closed the gap to 21-19, but two straight Buschur kills helped give the set win to the Norse.
In the third set, the Norse took a 12-9 lead on consecutive JU errors. The Dolphins battled back and took a 15-14 lead from a Roman ace. The teams tied four more times until the Dolphins broke free with a 20-18 advantage on two Norse errors. A service error gave JU a 23-21 lead, but Northern Kentucky got kills from Lippert and Kelly Morrissey to tie it. Strausbaugh answered with consecutive kills to give JU the set.
In the fourth set, two Roman Kills and a bad set helped the Dolphins take a 13-12 edge. After a Norse timeout, Buschur had three key kills to help her squad build an 18-15 advantage. JU benefitted from two errors and kills from junior Alyssa Robertson and Jacob for a 19-18 lead. Following another Norse timeout, the teams tied three times before a Strausbaugh ace gave the Dolphins a 23-21 lead. The Norse stole the final four points with the help of two JU errors to secure the win.
The Dolphins finally end their season-opening, 16-match road trip Tuesday at Stetson in DeLand, Fla. First serve is set for 7 p.m.