Volleyball Looks to Extend Winning Streak at Home This Weekend

Oct. 14, 2004

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

After recording its fifth win in its last six matches, including three consecutive sweeps, the JU volleyball team (5-9, 3-2) will look to increase its season-high winning streak to four matches as the Dolphins host a pair of Atlantic Sun Conference contests this weekend at Swisher Gymnasium. JU will begin with Campbell (8-10, 2-2) on Friday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. before concluding the weekend against Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. The Dolphins increased their winning streak to three matches after defeating Bethune-Cookman, 3-0, on Oct. 13 in a non-conference match. JU will host its next three conference matches at Swisher Gymnasium after posting a 2-1 conference road record thus far.

Campbell enters the contest at 8-10 and 2-2 in A-Sun play after defeating Savannah State (3-0) in a non-conference match on Oct. 13. The Fighting Camels had won their previous four matches before dropping a pair of matches to UCF (3-1) and Florida Atlantic (3-2) over the weekend. Campbell is currently 1-3 on the road this season.

Sophomore outside hitter Tabitha Turner leads the Campbell offense with 232 kills (3.57 kpg) while sophomore setter Sarah Dillon paces the squad with 540 assists (9.15 apg). The defense is led by junior libero Crystal Sieber's 226 digs (3.70 dpg) and sophomore middle hitter Rachel Templin's 65 blocks (1.02 bpg).

Gardner-Webb is currently 4-17 and 0-5 in A-Sun play after dropping a pair of home contests to Florida Atlantic (3-0) and UCF (3-0) over the weekend. The Runnin' Bulldogs have lost their last seven matches including five contests in which they have been swept. Gardner-Webb is currently 0-3 on the road this season.

Freshman outside hitter Ashley Pridgeon (206 kills) and sophomore outside hitter Maggie Cornwall (203 kills) each pace the squad with an average of 2.86 kpg. Senior setter Melanie Custer leads the squad with 568 assists (9.16 apg).

Head Coach Kevin Paul: After three years of serving as the Dolphins' top assistant, Kevin Paul enters his first season as head coach of the JU volleyball program. During his tenure, JU has reached the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament each season, including a 14-5 finish in 2003 after overcoming a 1-10 start. During the squad's 14-5 run to end the year, JU won 11 consecutive matches.

Paul joined the Dolphin staff after six seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky (1994-2000), where he helped coach seven Colonels to All-Ohio Valley Conference honors. In addition to assisting the EKU varsity squad, Paul also served as the head coach and played on the Eastern Kentucky men's club team. Paul helped lead the squad to a pair of National Intramural Recreational-Sports Association national rankings, finishing 13th in 1997 and 22nd in 1998.

Paul collected his first career victory with a 3-1 win vs. Mercer on Sept. 25 at Swisher Gymnasium.

Dolphins in the Atlantic Sun Rankings: With the squad's recent winning streak, JU continues to solidify itself in the top five amongst the 11-team conference in several team and individual categories as of Oct. 13.

As a team, the Dolphins currently rank first in digs (18.87 dpg), second in blocks (2.18 bpg), third in assists (12.87 apg), fourth in kills (14.18 kpg) and fifth in hitting percentage (.183).

Individually, junior middle hitter Danielle Neville leads the A-Sun with an average of 1.24 blocks per game, 0.22 ahead of Rachel Templin (1.02) of Campbell. Senior libero Kelly Ryals is also fifth in digs with an average of 4.00 per game.

Neville Standing Tall: Once again, junior middle hitter Danielle Neville has proven to be the one of the most dominant forces at the net in the Atlantic Sun Conference. As a sophomore, she led the conference in hitting percentage (.314) and has followed that effort by leading the A-Sun in blocks with an average of 1.24 per game.

Although she's not among the conference leaders in hitting, the Greenwood Village, Colo., native has continued to climb her way up the ladder with a .252 percentage. In the first six matches of the season, Neville was hitting a combined .100 percent from the floor but has posted a .336 percentage in her last eight contests. During that time Neville posted a hitting percentage higher than .400, including a season-high .533 (8-0-15) on Oct. 1, and has only 11 attack errors in 140 total attempts.

Deja Vu?: There is a strange connection or trend beginning to show when you compare the yearly results of the 2004 Dolphins to last season's JU squad.

In 2003, the squad opened the season with a 1-10 record including a 10-match losing streak. The Dolphins responded with an 11-match winning streak which included eighth sweeps (four in a row). The date in which the squad began their turnaround was on Sept. 26.

In 2004, the Dolphins opened the season with eight consecutive losses before rattling off five wins in their last six matches. During that time, the squad has recorded three straight sweeps and began their winnings ways on Sept. 25.

Dolphin Notables: During JU's eight match losing streak, the Dolphins allowed their opponents to hit above .250 for an average of .300, including three contests in which opponents hit over .300. Since Sept. 25, JU opponents are averaging a .119 hitting percentage with only one match going above .200 (Belmont - .307)...after this weekend, the combined conference record for JU's final remaining A-Sun opponents is 7-3.