"Our serve and pass at times was a little shaky, but when we passed the ball, I thought we were lights out," stated Head Coach Julie Darty. "Defensively, I think we still have some stuff to work on and figure out, but overall, I was pleased with our first contact."
Stamatis posted 49 assists and 11 digs, while Mattingly totaled 14 kills and 14 digs to lead the Dolphins. Jacksonville is now 17-9 on the year and 11-2 against ASUN Conference opponents.
Sophomore Amarrah Cooks recorded a season-high 18 kills on 31 attempts for a .452 hitting percentage, and posted a match-high six blocks (two solo). Seniors Olga Nushtayeva (.400) and Jessica Armstrong (.538) added nine and seven kills, respectively, as the pair both hit .400 or better. With a team-high 18 digs, nine kills, and three blocks (one solo), seniors Cristina Finan also made her presence known on the floor.
"Amarrah did a nice job of bailing us out of a lot of plays; hitting .452 on 31 swings is kind of unbelievable, so I'm really proud of her," added Darty. "I'm really am proud of Tina for coming in and stepping up after [Natalie Wehner] went down. Tina was a stabilizer for us, so she did a nice job. Alleah has just been so solid and consistent, and kind of the backbone and quarterback for this team; I thought she had another nice night."
Jacksonville quickly erased a 3-1 Highlander lead in the first set, as senior Shelby Babowicz served up four-straight Dolphin points to give JU a 5-3 lead. The Dolphins extended their lead on a 6-1 run with a kill and solo block from Armstrong, a service ace from Mattingly, and a block from Cooks and sophomore Natalie Wehner. The visitors struck back on four-straight points, but Jacksonville never let off the gas despite NJIT's efforts. The Highlanders came within one on three separate occasions, including 19-18. Following a JU timeout, Jacksonville closed out the set on a 6-1 run with kills from four different Dolphins, including three kills from Finan, to take set one, 25-19.
Eight ties early on highlighted the second set before Jacksonville surged on a 5-1 run to take a 17-13 advantage. The Dolphins surged ahead, 23-18, to force NJIT to call a timeout and to try to halt Jacksonville's momentum. Despite trading the final four points, Jacksonville took the second set, 25-20.
Both teams found themselves on incredible runs in the third set as the Highlanders found themselves with a 7-5 advantage early on. Jacksonville quickly bounced back into form with eight unanswered points with Finan at the service line as the visitors burned through both timeouts during that run. Mattingly posted four kills and a block assist during that run to help JU take a 20-13 lead. NJIT wouldn't allow another straight-set shutout at the hands of the Dolphins, however, and battled back and closed out the set on an 8-0 rally to win its first set against Jacksonville in 2017, 25-22.
Jacksonville shut the door on the Highlanders early on in the fourth set behind Finan and Stamatis at the service line, as the Dolphins opened up the set with a 10-2 lead. NJIT managed to string three consecutive points to cut its deficit to 10, 18-8, but the Dolphins used a 7-2 run to close out the set, 25-10, and the match, 3-1. Jacksonville hit an astronomical .536 in the set, with 18 kills on 28 attempts and no attacking errors.
Tess Albyn's 20 kills led the Highlanders, while Liz Benson posted a double-double with 37 assists and 13 digs.
"We served okay at times, but this is one of those weekends that we're trying to get polished, prepared, and as dialed in as possible tomorrow for Upstate; taking care of business with them, and getting on the road for what's in store for the postseason," Darty said.
"It's all about trusting the process right now so we can reap the benefits going forward."
The Dolphins close out the regular season tomorrow, Nov. 11, when USC Upstate visits Historic Swisher Gymnasium on Senior Night. First serve is slated for 5 p.m.