Volleyball set to face FAU for first place in the Atlantic Sun

Oct. 28, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Pick a cliché and it fits.

It all comes down to this. The biggest game of the year. What we've all been waiting for. Putting it all on the line. For the whole shooting match and the whole ball of wax. Take all of those, wrap them into one, and you have the importance of the JU volleyball team's next match.

The Dolphins will put their unblemished Atlantic Sun Conference record on the line Saturday when they face fellow unbeaten Florida Atlantic at 3 p.m., in Swisher Gymnasium.

"These are the kind of matches you build your season around," said JU head coach Kevin Pual. "I believe we've competed against some talented competition all year in preparation for this and the remainder of the conference play."

Jacksonville is coming in at the top of its game. The Dolphins, despite getting off to a 1-9 start, have pulled within a game of .500 at 11-12. Included in that is a 6-0 run thus far through the A-Sun, extending the Dolphins winning streak in conference play to 16.

A year ago, JU lost its first seven matches before turning the season around in time to go 8-2 in conference play and win the A-Sun Tournament.

"Right now I feel very good about where our team is," Paul said. "It is very similar to last year when the girls turned it up a notch towards the end, they have that same attitude as of late and I'm extremely happy with that. Everyone seems to be on the same page and we all know what this match means. It will be a fun match to watch, we played some thrilling five gamers with them over the last two years and I expect this one to be the same."

During their recent three-match winning streak, the Dolphins have been led by the trio of Danielle Neville, Petya Borisova and Joanna Silva.

Neville, the school's all-time leader in blocks, has stepped up on defense, racking up six blocks in JU's 3-0 win over Campbell. Borisova has led the team in kills in two of the last three matches and picked up a double-double in the Campbell win as well. Silva meanwhile has been steady, piling up kills and digs over the last three matches.

Even with all of the streaks going in JU's favor, the Dolphins face a tall task in knocking off the Owls. Florida Atlantic is sporting a 23-2 record and 7-0 mark in A-Sun play.

"FAU is a very good team, anyone that only has only two losses at this point in the year is a sure threat," Paul said. "We have studied a lot of film on them and I think if our kids come out and play at our ability, consistently throughout the match we have a pretty good chance."