Volleyball battles rival North Florida Saturday
Junior Kendall Courtney
Junior Kendall Courtney
For the third straight season, North Florida will stand in the way of the JU volleyball team’s A-Sun postseason chances when the teams meet Saturday in UNF Arena at 5 p.m.

The Dolphins (7-21, 5-10 A-Sun) are one of five teams, along with the Ospreys (17-11, 8-7), battling for one of the three remaining seeds into the A-Sun Tournament.

JU also looks to break four-match losing streak to its cross-town rival and cut into North Florida’s three-point lead in the SunTrust River City Rumble standings.

“This is a big match for us,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We have been playing really well and we need to continue that on Saturday. UNF is on a pretty good run themselves, but our team is ready for the challenge.”

The Dolphins enter the weekend match after winning three of their last four, with the lone loss coming to A-Sun leader Florida Gulf Coast Tuesday night.

Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh has been a big part of the current stretch by recording 10 or more kills in five of the last six matches. She recorded 43 of her 56 kills last week in wins against Kennesaw State and Mercer to receive A-Sun Player of the Week. Overall, Strausbaugh leads the Dolphins with 303 kills, while ranking second in aces (22) and third in digs (251).

Not to be outdone, junior Kylie Jacob has had at least seven kills and four blocks in seven of eight contests, while junior Kendall Courtney has recorded more than 30 assists in the last six matches.

The Ospreys have won seven of their last nine contests since getting swept by Kennesaw State and Mercer at home in early October.

Paige Pridegon leads the Ospreys with 356 kills, while ranking second in digs (318). Nicole Baran has a team-best 532 digs.

In the first meeting, North Florida had three players recorded double-digit kills for a 3-1 win Sept. 28 in Swisher Gym. JPridgeon and Carolyn Jenkins each had 13 kills to lead the Ospreys to the SunTrust River City Rumble point. Strausbaugh had 13 kills for JU.

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