Dolphins Travel to USC Upstate, NJIT for Weekend ASUN Action

Dolphins Travel to USC Upstate, NJIT for Weekend ASUN Action

MATCH #14: Jacksonville at USC Upstate
DATE: Friday, Sept. 29 – 6:00 pm
SITE: G.B. Hodge Center – Spartanburg, S.C.
2017 RECORDS: Jacksonville (6-7, 1-0 ASUN); USC Upstate (4-10, 1-0 ASUN) 

MATCH #15: Jacksonville at NJIT
DATE: Sunday, Oct. 1 – 12:00 pm
SITE: Estelle and Zoom Fleisher Athletic Center – Newark, N.J.
2017 RECORDS: Jacksonville (6-7, 1-0 ASUN); NJIT (8-8, 0-1 ASUN) 
** NJIT record prior to Oct. 1

Coming off a huge 3-1 win last Friday night at North Florida, Jacksonville University volleyball looks to keep its momentum in the ASUN Conference rolling this weekend as the Dolphins travel north to take on league foes USC Upstate and NJIT. JU faces the Spartans Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 pm, and squares up with the Highlanders Sunday, Oct. 1 at noon.

Last Time Out – at UNF (River City Rumble, Part 1)

With persistent play throughout the match, the Dolphins opened ASUN play last Friday with a 3-1 victory at North Florida in front of an electric crowd at UNF Arena. In the teams' first River City Rumble match of the season, the Dolphins took the first and third sets, 25-22 and 25-18, respectively, before earning the decisive – and marathon – fourth set, 32-30.

Jacksonville hit .310 in the third set (17-42) and had just four errors to swing the momentum back in their favor after dropping the second game, 25-13.

The sophomore duo of Mallory Mattingly and Natalie Wehner posted double-doubles to help the Dolphins, as Mattingly earned her sixth double-double of the season behind 14 kills and 11 digs, and Wehner added 11 kills and 15 digs. Sophomore Alleah Stamatis added 48 assists, while classmate Amarrah Cooks and freshman Hannah Marchand combined for 11 blocks to lead the Dolphins' defensively. Marchand earned her second ASUN Freshman of the Week accolades following her performance of seven kills, three digs, and six blocks in the match.

In Their Own Words …

Head Coach Julie Darty on this weekend's road trip to USC Upstate and NJIT –
"We spent a lot of time on the road for our non-conference games, and we're embracing it as a good thing. We're just going to play volleyball in whatever gym we happen to be in that day. We're excited for two more opportunities to continue and grow together; all the pieces of our puzzle are starting to come together, and that's really exciting to see. It's an exciting time for us right now to turn that corner and make this a pivotal moment after that win at UNF last week. If we can have consistent energy on the court, good things will continue to happen for us."

Senior middle-blocker Olga Nushtayeva on the weekend's matchups –
"This weekend is a really big weekend for us. We've been really working on discipline and keeping each other accountable at practice. That really showed for us at UNF, especially in that fourth set. If we keep that up, we'll be successful."

Where They Rank …

The Dolphins rank in the top five in the ASUN in several statistical categories including:

  • Digs per set (15.49) – second, 100th in the nation
  • Team attacks per set (36.65) – second, 64th in the nation
  • Hitting percentage (0.187) – third
  • Opponent hitting percentage (0.198) – third
  • Kills per set (12.57) – fourth
  • Team digs (790) – fourth
  • Team total attacks (1,869) – fourth
  • Assists per set (11.75) – fifth
  • Team assists (599) – fifth
  • Team kills (641) – fifth
  • Team total blocks (93.0) – fifth

Individually, several Dolphins rank in the top 10 in the ASUN:

  • Mallory Mattingly is leads the ASUN with 567 total attacks (81st in the nation), and is second in the league with 11.12 attacks per set (54th in the nation).
  • Additionally, Mattingly ranks third in the ASUN with 3.41 kills per set, and fourth with 174 kills.
  • Mackenzie Swan is currently third in the ASUN with 4.18 digs per set (131st in the nation), and ranks fifth with 213 digs.
  • Two Dolphins rank in the top 10 in the ASUN in hitting percentage – Amarrah Cooks ranks fifth  with a .290 hitting percentage, and Olga Nushtayeva is seventh with a .255 hitting percentage.
  • Alleah Stamatis ranks third in the league with 380 assists, and is fifth with 7.45 assists per set.
  • Hannah Marchand is tied for third in the ASUN with 11 solo blocks, while teammates Amarrah Cooks (9) and Olga Nushtayeva (8) rank eighth and ninth, respectively.
  • Marchand also ranks fifth in the ASUN with 0.88 blocks per set and ninth with 37 total blocks.

ASUN Weekly Honors

Hannah Marchand continues to wow in the league after earning her second ASUN Freshman of the Week honors following her performance at UNF last Friday. The Sturgis, Mich. native posted seven kills, three digs, and led the team with six blocks.

Marchand previously earned ASUN Freshman of the Week honors Aug. 28 after an impressive weekend at Clemson's Big Orange Bash. The middle-blocker opened her collegiate career with 11 kills and four blocks against Lamar en route to a .476 hitting percentage.

The Series with USC Upstate

Jacksonville leads 14-3 in the all-time series with the Spartans. The Dolphins posted wins in eight of the last ten matches against USC Upstate, including last year's 3-1 victory in the final home weekend in the regular season.

Scouting the Spartans

The Spartans are 4-10 on the year and 1-0 in league play after taking down NJIT, 3-2, last Saturday in Newark, N.J. AS a team, USC Upstate is third in the ASUN with 851 digs (15.47 digs per set), and have posted a third-best 36.24 attacks per set in the league.

Impressively, Madison Haake leads the ASUN and is second in the nation with two triple-doubles. Haake posted back-to-back triple-doubles against Wake Forest (17 kills, 14 digs, 21 assists) and William & Mary (13 kills, 13 digs, 20 assists) earlier this season. Haake also leads the team with 367 assists (7.34 assists per set).

Lily Dempsey leads the Spartans with 129 kills (2.48 kills per set), and both she and Haake are tied for third in the league with 17 service aces. Meanwhile, Kaleigh Kelley ranks third in the league with 227 digs and fourth with 4.13 digs per set. McKenna Kirkpatrick leads the team with eight solo blocks and 33 total blocks, as Dempsey (29 blocks) and Gloria Ikengbu (28 blocks) follow closely behind.

The Series with NJIT

Jacksonville holds a 4-0 advantage all-time over the Highlanders, and the Dolphins have given up just three sets to NJIT in the series.

Scouting the Highlanders

NJIT is currently 8-8 overall and leads the ASUN in several statistical categories. Offensively, the Highlanders lead the league in aces per set (1.75, 16th nationally), kills (713, 92nd nationally), service aces (103, 7th nationally), and total attacks (2,067, 65th nationally). NJIT also leads the ASUN in opponent hitting percentage (0.175, 69th in the nation) and digs (905, 55th in the nation).

Individually, Adriana Nieto tops the ASUN in aces per set (0.53, 12th nationally), service aces (31, 8th nationally), and digs (266, 43rd nationally), and is second in the league with 4.51 digs per set (83rd nationally). Teammate Adrianne Bynoe ranks second in the league with 57 blocks and fourth in the ASUN with 0.92 blocks per set.

Tess Albyn (179 kills, 3.09 kills per set), Madi Busler (130 kills, 2.83 k/s), and Iva Mandic (132 kills, 2.44 k/s) all have above 2.00 kills per set for NJIT, while three different Highlanders have above 100 assists – Alyssa Armada (124), Liz Benson (280), and Emily Krachenfels (176). Along with Nieto, Busler (16), Alahna Diaz (15), Olvia Welsch (15), Mikalah Hughes (11), and Armada (11) all have double-digit service aces. Bynoe and Hughes also lead the Highlanders with 57 and 50 blocks, respectively.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Jacksonville University Athletics, along with JU Volleyball, would like to extend its sincerest gratitude to the University of North Florida Athletics for opening its doors in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Jacksonville's Historic Swisher Gymnasium earned some battle scars two weeks ago from Irma, and was rendered unplayable for the foreseeable future. The Ospreys graciously and selflessly opened UNF Arena to allow JU to continue to practice, as well as host its home-opening tournament – the Dolphin Invitational – two weeks ago.

Although rivals in spirit, we are all part of the Jacksonville community. Thank you, North Florida and UNF Athletics.

Up Next

The Dolphins return to Duval next weekend with three matches in five days, all of which will be played at UNF Arena. Tuesday's match against Bethune-Cookman will begin at 7:30 pm, while the weekend ASUN series with Kennesaw State (Friday, Oct. 6) and Lipscomb (Saturday, Oct. 7) will both have first serve at 4 pm.