NEWARK, N.J. – As the 2018 season winds down, the Jacksonville University volleyball team is heating up and Friday evening's come-from-behind, record-setting, 3-2 victory at NJIT was evidence of the Dolphins peaking at the right time head into the final few ASUN Conference matches.
With 17 kills – exactly how many she needed – junior Mallory Mattingly became just the ninth player in program history to reach the 1,000 career kill milestone. The last player to do so was Emily Laskelle in 2015 and the last player to do so in three years was Sammie Strausbaugh in 2014.
To make the night even more memorable, Mattingly's 1,000th kill lifted the Dolphins (5-21, 3-10 ASUN) from a 15-15 deadlock in the fifth set before Jacksonville went on to win the next point and the match, 17-15. Not only did she set records offensively, but the Sanford, Fla. native had a career-high night at the net with six blocks.
However, the junior wasn't the only Dolphin who put up career numbers in Newark. The Dolphins were led by a stellar performance from sophomore Hannah Marchand, who recorded a career-high 20 kills and hit .441, with seven blocks. Along with Marchand and Mattingly, graduate student Sara Dyslin completed the Dolphins' triple threat with 16 kills and a season-high seven blocks.
Senior Lauren Petersen smashed her career-high for the third time this season with 53 assists, while she and sophomore Madison Rayam combined for eight blocks – four each – to set career-highs in the category.
Though the hosts took the opening set, 25-17, Jacksonville used a pair of late runs in the middle sets to jump ahead, 25-20, 25-22, in the second and third sets, respectively.
Evenly matched throughout the fourth set, a late run lifted the Highlanders, 25-17, to force a fifth set.
Though NJIT (4-25, 2-11 ASUN) came away victorious in five sets earlier in the season at Swisher, the Dolphins were determined to return the same favor to the Highlanders. The Dolphins ran out on a 5-1 run to lead 9-7 before NJIT found a way to steal three straight points and match point, 15-14. However, it was Mattingly's heroics with a pair of kills – Nos. 999 and 1,000 – that tied the set and gave the Dolphins the lead, before a Highlander error gave the Dolphins the 17-15 win.
The Dolphins close out their road schedule on Sunday, Nov. 4 at North Alabama. Opening serve is set for 2 pm EST.