FORT MYERS – Mackenzie Swan had 15 digs against Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, her 18th consecutive game of at least 10 digs. But the effort wasn't quite enough to give the Jacksonville University volleyball team the victory over the Eagles.
The first set was close early, JU trailing by just one point at 5-6. The Eagles pulled away a bit in the middle of the set, but JU used big kills by Alleah Stamatis, Olga Nushtayeva, and Jessica Armstrong to keep the game close, within two points, at 15-17. But FGCU used an 8-3 run to close the set, 25-18.
FGCU and JU traded points early in the second set, but another big run by the Eagles quickly put the Dolphins out of play. Head Coach Julie Darty was forced to use both timeouts quickly, and though the Dolphins were able to get a quick run here and there, the set ended on a 9-2 run by FGCU, 25-11.
Florida Gulf Coast pressed their advantage early with a 4-0 run to start the third set, but JU wasn't going to go down without a fight. Jacksonville came within one point, 5-6, on two kills by Mallory Mattingly and a strike by Nushtayeva. FGCU pulled away to a lead of five points at 8-13, but again Jacksonville fought back, capitalizing on Eagle errors and a service ace from Shelby Babowicz to pull within one, 12-13. In the end FGCU's offensive edge proved too much to overcome as the Eagles strung together a 12-6 run to take the set 25-18 and the match in three sets.
The Dolphins travel to DeLand on Saturday for a 5 p.m. match at Stetson University. Jacksonville will then return home for a few days' rest before heading south again to play Bethune-Cookman at Daytona Beach on Tuesday.