JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University volleyball team closed out the 2018 season with a hard-fought 3-0 defeat at the hands of visiting Kennesaw State, Saturday evening at Swisher Gymnasium. The Dolphins finished the season with a 5-24 record overall and 3-13 mark in the ASUN Conference.
"It was a great season. While it was full of adversity, we battled and never gave in," stated first year head coach Evan Muys. "I was very impressed with how we played tonight. [Kennesaw State head coach] Keith [Schunzel] and his staff have done a great job, and I thought we pushed them all night. It's always special playing on senior night and I think Hailey [Devlin], Dys [Sara Dyslin], and Lauren [Petersen] can look back on their growth through the season in a positive manner and the proof is in how we competed tonight."
Leading the way for the Dolphins, Hannah Marchand hit .750 with 10 kills as she and Mallory Mattingly posted double figures and combined for 21 kills on the night. Senior Lauren Petersen added a team-high four aces, six digs, and 29 assists in the effort.
Trailing 6-1 earlier on in the first, the Dolphins made the jump with a 6-2 run to bring it within one, 9-8, sparked by a kill and an ace from Marchand. Though the Owls (23-6, 14-2 ASUN) eventually extended their lead to 16-12, the Dolphins battled back with a 3-0 run to cut their deficit to one once more. With the set in KSU's sights with a 23-19 lead, Jacksonville took the next two points, including the first of four aces from Petersen, to pressure to Owls 23-21, but Kennesaw was able to hold off the surging Dolphins for the set win, 25-21.
Thirteen ties in the score highlighted the second set as the teams battled to a deadlock at 19-19. Although a 5-0 KSU run landed the visitors with a sizeable lead down the stretch, the Dolphins used back-to-back points to hold the Owls at set point before Kennesaw State took the set to an identical score, 25-21.
Jacksonville opened the third set with a 5-3 advantage, but a 6-0 rally pushed the momentum in favor of the Owls. Coming out of a timeout, Dyslin put up a huge solo block to curb KSU's run, but the Dolphins were unable to get anything going offensively as the visitors went on to take the match with a 25-13 set win.