KENNESAW, Ga. – The No. 1 Jacksonville University volleyball team is heading to their fourth-ever title-match and first since 2007 after defeating No. 4 FGCU in four sets Friday evening.
JU will battle No. 3 Lipscomb for the 2013 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Tournament title on Saturday at 3 p.m.
The Fins (28-3) previously competed in 2007, 2006 and won their first-ever title in the 2004 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Tournament and advanced to the NCAA.
The Dolphins led 2-0 until FGCU forced a fourth.
It was a tight race in the third set until FGCU broke away to lead 16-11. JU came within one on a Kendall Courtney kill, down 21-22, and tied it 23-all on a Sammie Strausbaugh kill and Mayara Prestes service ace, before FGCU earned the final two points on two kills to win its first set of the match, 25-23.
JU controlled the entire fourth set, leading 14-7, 20-11 and eventually winning 25-16, ending on a Gabriela Roman kill.
The first set was a back and forth battle until JU separated from 14-all to lead 21-15. But FGCU rallied back to tie 22-all with six of seven points. Eventually though JU earned the final three and won 25-22 on two kills and one service ace. Strausbaugh led JU with four kills, Alyssa Robertson followed with three and a team-best .400 and Emily Laskelle tallied two kills in the opening set. Taylor Nyquist made two straight service aces, while Courtney tallied a set-high seven digs.
The second set was a team hitting percentage reversal, as JU hit .256, while FGCU hit .167. The Eagles scored within one, down 11-10, before the Fins pulled away to an 18-11 lead on one attack error, one ball handling error, four kills and one Rachel Miller service ace. The Eagles pulled within two at 19-17 and fell back to three at 24-21 until the Fins won the second set on a Laskelle kill.
Strausbaugh led the Dolphins with her 14th double-double of the season with a match-high 20 kills as well as 10 digs. Robertson followed with 11 kills and added four digs and two block assists. Courtney topped in digs with 23, followed by Prestes with 22. As a team, Jacksonville made 10 service aces.