JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jizzyan Gesualdo came within one kill of a triple-double as the Jacksonville University volleyball team secured its fifth-consecutive trip to the ASUN Conference tournament. The Dolphins defeated NJIT in three sets Saturday in their final home game of the 2016 season.
"To end our regular season conference schedule on our home court with a sweep couldn't have been sweeter," said Head Coach Julie Darty. "I think it was the perfect way to honor Jizzy today by punching a spot in the conference tournament. Really proud of the effort that everyone put forward today, I think it was a total team win. Jizzy being on kill away from her first career triple-double. She's been playing crazy good defense, running really good offense, and being an offensive threat herself. I'm very proud of the career Jizzy's had with me. I couldn't ask for a more coachable setter, a better person with a bigger heart. I'm just really proud of Jizzy and I hope the way that she's playing carries us into the postseason."
The Dolphins jumped out to a 6-2 lead on two kills apiece for Gesualdo and Jessica Armstrong. NJIT gets within one, 7-6, but JU fights back with another 6-2 run fueled by two more kills from Gesualdo. The Highlanders came close again at 13-11, but a 6-0 run from Cristina Finan, Mallory Mattingly, and Armstrong gave Jacksonville too much of a cushion for NJIT to overcome. JU won the first set 25-16.
The second set was much closer early on than the first. NJIT tied the set twice, and even led at 8-6. But JU closed the set with a 19-10 run on four kills by Armstrong and six kills by Mattingly. The Dolphins won the set 25-18 and went up 2-0 heading into the break.
Out of the locker room JU pushed its advantage with a 5-1 run to open the third. One of those five points came from Shelby Babowicz, her first career kill. But NJIT wasn't quite ready to give up the frame. The Highlanders used a 12-8 run to tie up the match at 13-13, and took the lead for the first time at 16-15. NJIT's momentum burned out after that run though, and JU was able to once again take the lead at 17-16. NJIT forced it to extra points, but Jacksonville was able to hold on to win the set 28-26.
- Gesualdo came within one kill of a triple-double. The fifth-year senior had nine kills, 28 assists, and 17 digs.
- Armstrong had 12 kills, and Mattingly had 13 kills and 11 digs, her ninth career double-double.
- Mackenzie Swan had 10 digs, her 25th-consecutive match with at least 10 digs.