Volleyball Wins Thriller Over Xavier in Season Opener, 3-2

Aug. 30, 2002

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University volleyball team rallied after facing four match points in the third game to down Xavier, 17-30, 23-30, 34-32, 30-17, 16-14, in the second match of the JU Invitational Friday night at Swisher Gymnasium. Sophomore Kelly Ryals (Gainesville, Fla.) led the Dolphins with 18 kills and 18 digs, while senior setter Kristin Withrow (St. Petersburg, Fla.) posted 54 assists. Eastern Washington defeated Eastern Michigan in three straight games, 30-27, 30-25, 30-23.

Down two-games-to-none and trailing Xavier, 29-26, in the third game, the Dolphins ripped off four-straight points on senior middle hitter Brooke Ahrens' (Benson, Ill.) serve to take a 30-29 lead. During the streak, Ahrens, who finished with nine kills and three blocks, recorded an ace and a kill. The Musketeers came back to tie the match four times, but the Dolphins took a 33-32 lead on a service error by Xavier's Meggie Hoffman and freshman middle blocker Danielle Neville (Greenwood Village, Colo.), who posted a match-high six blocks, capped the game with an ace.

JU carried the momentum into games four and five, where they wrapped up the match behind senior outside hitters Alesha Rodriguez (Cleveland, Ohio), who had 14 kills and 14 digs, and junior Radka Dimitrova (Sofia Bulgaria), who finished with 13 kills and 12 digs. In the first match, Lindsay Page led EWU with 13 kills, while Janelle Ruen had 15 digs and Jessie Wright had 25 assists. Bree Hickman led EMU with 11 kills, while Jennifer Nighswander had 17 digs and Camila Olaio had 35 assists.

The JU Invitational concludes Saturday with Eastern Michigan facing Xavier at 10 a.m., JU taking on Eastern Washington at 12 p.m., Eastern Washington facing Xavier at 6 p.m. and JU battling Eastern Michigan at 8 p.m.