DELAND – The Jacksonville University volleyball team bounced back in a big way Saturday at Stetson University, overcoming an 0-1 deficit to win the match 3-1.
"Road wins are always special, but this one feels different," said Head Coach Julie Darty. "We had a great focus in sets 2-4 and when wee dialed in and really focused on just being us, good things happened. I am very proud of every single player on this team. It was a total team win."
The first set was incredibly close early with four ties in the first 16 points. Jacksonville pulled away in the middle of the game to lead by as much as five points, and had its first shot at set point leading by four, 24-20. But Stetson somehow staved off defeat four times, coming back to take the set 27-25.
JU could've checked out mentally after the disappointing end of the first set, but the Dolphins refused to give up. Instead they began the second set with a 4-1 run. The two teams traded runs for a while, and though Stetson was able to tie up four different times, JU never surrendered the lead. It took extra points, but the Dolphins won the second set 27-25 on a kill by Jizzyan Gesualdo and an ace by Cristina Finan.
Stetson kept the third set close at the start, tying it up at 8-8, but the Jacksonville offense kicked it into another gear on the next point. The Hatters had nine errors in the final 23 points, and the Dolphins got kills from Mallory Mattingly, Olga Nushtayeva, Jessica Armstrong, Gesualdo, and Finan in a 17-6 run to end the set. The Dolphins won the game 25-14 to go up 2-1.
Jacksonville looked like it would run away with the fourth set when it led by as much as six points, 18-12, but Stetson still wasn't done. The Hatters fought back to tie up the set at 22-22, forcing a JU timeout. Out of the timeout Nushtayeva swung through a huge kill, and that gave the Dolphins enough to win the set 25-23. The Dolphins won the match 3-1.
"I think we are finally getting comfortable in our own skin and what we did in set 3 is what I want us to embrace," continued Darty. "That is how we play, that is how we grind."
- Gesualdo had 44 assists in the match, putting her career total at 3,016.
- Gesualdo also had 10 digs, her seventh double-double of the season and the 33rd of her career.
- Mattingly and Nushtayeva each had 12 kills, Finan had 10 kills, and Armstrong had nine kills.
- Nushtayeva hit .545 in the match
- Mackenzie Swan had 23 digs, her 19th consecutive game of at least 10 digs.