Along with double-digit kills for the fifth straight match, Strausbaugh added nine digs and two blocks to help the Dolphins (7-20, 5-9 A-Sun) to their third win this week. JU’s defense also stepped up with 21 blocks and four players recorded double-digit digs, led by junior Kendall Courtney’s 21.
Junior Kylie Jacob finished with nine kills and four blocks, while senior Alison Loeppky had eight kills to help the cause.
“I am very proud of our team,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “They fought tooth and nail to get that win. This was a great weekend in terms of moving us towards a possible tournament berth, but we still have a ways to go.”
The Owls (16-13, 5-9), who beat JU earlier this season in five, got 16 kills and 18 digs from Turea Jones. Keyaira Stevenson (13) and Baylee Strachan (12) also finished with double-digit kills.
In the first set, JU opened with a 10-3 lead, capped on a kill by freshman Gabriela Roman, to force a Kennesaw State timeout. Jacob ended an 8-4 stretch with a kill to extend JU’s lead to 18-7. The Owls made a late run, but kills from Loeppky and Strausbaugh helped wrap the set for JU.
In the second set, two early Roman kills gave the Dolphins an 11-7 advantage. The Owls chipped away at the lead until a block from Jones and Chade Martin made it a 16-15 deficit. Two straight kills from Jones helped Kennesaw State tie it at 17 all. Following a timeout, the Dolphins committed three consecutive errors to give the Owls a 20-17 lead. JU got it to 22-20 on a Loeppky kill before the Owls took the next three points to win the set.
The Dolphins earned a 25-21 win in set three, but the Owls used the same score in the fourth to force a deciding set.
Trailing 5-3 in the final set, JU used a 7-2 stretch, capped on a Jacob kill, to take a 10-7 lead. An ace by Courtney and another Jacob kill gave JU a 13-7 advantage to force a second Owls’ timeout. Three errors and a kill from Emily Bean cut the Owls’ deficit to 14-11, but an attack error gave JU the win.
The Dolphins continue the road trip Tuesday against Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Fla., at 7 p.m. Fans can follow the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.