JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University's volleyball team will wrap up the 2016 regular season this weekend with two tough tests; the Dolphins travel to league leaders Lipscomb University on Friday and Kennesaw State University on Saturday.
"We're headed into the last weekend of regular season play and I'm really excited for this opportunity to get one last weekend of competition and play before the post-season starts next week," said Head Coach Julie Darty. "I think we had a good weekend at home celebrating Jizzy's career and getting some key wins late in the season. Every single player on this team knows they matter and play a major role within our team - it's been fun to see this group really come together and grow."
- Jacksonville has tallied an ASUN-leading 30 solo blocks against conference opponents, with hitter Jessica Armstrong posting 10.
- The Dolphins .328 hitting percentage in a win against NJIT this past Saturday is the highest average they've had in a single match in the past two years.
- ASUN Player of the Week and JU setter Jizzyan Gesualdo leads the ASUN with 3,266 career assists and is third in assists per set in 2016 at 9.27. The fifth-year senior from Ponce, P.R., is fourth all-time in JU's history.
- Mackenzie Swan's 4.82 digs per set is the second highest in the ASUN, as the defensive specialist has recorded double-digits in all 25 of Jacksonville's 2016 matches.
- Jacksonville has won three of its last four matches in Kennesaw, Ga., but has not won against Lipscomb in Nashville in over five years.
Scouting the Bisons
Lipscomb (18-7, 10-2 ASUN) is competing for its third-straight ASUN regular season title. The Bisons are tied with Kennesaw State and lead Florida Gulf Coast by one game with two games remaining. If the Bisons win out over Jacksonville on Friday and North Florida on Saturday, they'll take the ASUN crown. Lipscomb averages 1.76 aces per set, their best average since 2007. Carlyle Nusbaum is the player to watch on offense; the sophomore leads the ASUN in kills with 4.39 per set. Freshman Maddie Phillips is a force at the net, tied atop the ASUN in solo blocks with 16.
"We're really excited that we get to play in Allen Arena before conference tournament starts and are using this opportunity to get comfortable and confident in that gym," continued Darty.
Scouting the Owls
Kennesaw State (16-10, 10-2 ASUN) are tied with Lipscomb for the ASUN lead, but with Lipscomb holding the tie break the Owls will need some help to get the #1 seed in the tournament. The Owls have scored more points (801) and kills (631) in conference play than any other ASUN member this year. Libero Katarina Morton is averaging 5.07 digs per set, and is just six digs away from tying a program record for digs in a season.
"I'm hopeful that we can continue to build on our brand of volleyball," concluded Darty. "The emphasis we have put on efficiency, ball control, and service pressure has translated well into match settings and I hope that we continue to be us and play good, clean volleyball."
Up Next for JU
The Dolphins will head to the #ASUNVB Conference tournament next week. They'll play at either 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17 in the first round.