JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With just two weeks left and only two spots remaining in the ASUN Conference tournament, Jacksonville University's volleyball team will be vying off against USC Upstate on Friday and NJIT on Saturday for one of those two spots. The Dolphins will give away pizza to "The Splash Zone" student section on #FreePizzaFriday, and the lone senior on the squad, Jizzyan Gesualdo, will be honored for an incredible five-year career on Saturday.
"It is so exciting for us to be able to celebrate Jizzy's career with our last two home matches of the regular season," said Head Coach Julie Darty. "These are major matches for us and we know what is on the line. We are dialed in and prepared and ready to battle on our home court. I think that we are recovering from some sickness/injuries that were nagging us in October and it's nice to have some people back and available. The team has a really good perspective and focus going into this weekend, and they are ready to fight for some wins at home."
- This Weekend's ASUN Championship Scenarios
Jacksonville: Clinches spot w/ wins vs. USC Upstate & NJIT AND one loss by Stetson
USC Upstate: Clinches spot w/ wins vs. Jacksonville & North Florida AND one loss from NJIT & Stetson
- Gesualdo currently leads active players in the ASUN in career assists. The senior from Ponce, P.R., has 3,194 with at least four games remaining in her career. She is fourth all-time in JU's career assist list, trailing Aiko Beltran (1995-98) by 678.
- Gesualdo is also sixth among active players in ASUN career digs. She has 834.
- Gesualdo had 60 assists against Stetson, a new career best.
- Jacksonville leads the conference with 16.30 digs per set.
- Freshman Amarrah Cooks' seven blocks against NJIT are the most a Dolphin has had in a single match in 2016.
- JU has bumped its blocks per set up from 1.8 during the non-conference season to 2.01 in ASUN play.
Scouting the Spartans
Upstate (11-16, 3-7 ASUN) leads the conference in digs (1,801) and attack attempts (4,021), and ranks third in both categories nationally. The Spartans have played in more five-set matches than any other team in the ASUN, notching their 11th and 12th of the season against Kennesaw State and Lipscomb last weekend. The defensive key to the game for USC Upstate is Kaleigh Kelley, who is second in the conference in digs (463).
Scouting the Highlanders
NJIT (9-19, 1-9 ASUN) is just one ASUN win away from beating its 2015 total with four matches left in 2016. The Highlanders have already surpassed last season's overall win total. The Dolphins will need to keep an eye on Mikalah Hughes; the middle is one of only three ASUN players with seven or more five-plus block performances this year. Katarzyna Klocek leads the Highlander offense with 275 kills.
Up Next for JU
The Dolphins close out the 2016 regular season with a two-game road trip. They'll fly to Lipscomb Friday, and then head to Kennesaw State on Saturday.