FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 04, 2009
Volleyball falls to Louisiana Tech, 3-1, in first match of Southern Miss La Quinta Inn Invitational
Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane
Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane
Senior libero Shelley Walroth tallied a match-high 29 digs and three Dolphins recorded double-doubles but the JU volleyball team fell just short in a tightly fought contest against Louisiana Tech, 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25), Friday afternoon in the first match of the Southern Miss La Quinta Inn Invitational at Reed Green Coliseum.

JU (2-2) could not overcome a slow offensive start in the first set, hitting a match-low -.067 but only dropped the frame by two points. The Dolphins recorded a match-high .275 in the second set to even things up but two sub .200 efforts in three and four led to losses of three and four points, respectively.

LT (5-1) relied heavily on its defense to emerge the victor by tallying match highs with 94 digs and 14 team blocks. The Techsters barely out hit the Dolphins in the contest by a .130-to-.127 margin but put things together when they needed to, at the end of frames.

“We had ourselves set up in every set but we couldn’t find a way to finish,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “Defensively, we played very well but unfortunately Louisiana Tech played just as good. We are still coming together as a squad but now we have to regroup quickly with a tough match tonight against Southern Miss.”

Walroth, who holds the individual and career dig records at JU, is now 42 digs shy of surpassing Anne Mullins of Lipscomb for the Atlantic Sun Conference all-time record.

Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane tallied a match-high 16 kills to go with a career-high 21 digs for her first collegiate double-double. Singleton finished with 14 kills and 14 digs for her first double-double of the season while August notched 18 assists, 14 digs and a match-high three aces. Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent led the squad with six blocks, junior setter Hannah Munneke dished out 31 assists and junior middle blocker Brittany Lehman added a match-high .368 hitting percentage (9-2-19).

Nataliya Panova led the Techsters with 12 kills and 14 digs while Bianca Bin added 39 assists and 14 digs. Lori Hunsucker led the defense with 20 digs while Jennifer Goodwin (17 digs, eight kills, four blocks) and Kassia Pinto (10 digs) also added to the cause. KC Clayton also added nine kills and six blocks.

In the first set, JU took an early 4-2 lead on an attack error by Pinto but the Techsters answered with a 7-0 run to open up a 9-4 advantage. LT increased the margin to 12-6 after a ball handling error by the Dolphins but JU would use a 5-0 run, capped by an ace by August, to even the contest (14-14). Both teams would trade a point until a 4-0 run, capped by a block assist by Kent and freshman outside hitter Alliya Drzewiecki, gave the Dolphins a 19-15 lead. The Techsters would answer back with an 8-1 run, fueled by consecutive block assists by Clayton and Goodwin, to take a 23-20 advantage. JU would answer with a 3-0 run, capped by an attack error by Panova, to even the contest, 23-23, but LT got an attack error by the Dolphins and an ace by Panova to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second frame, both teams battled through four ties until JU took an 8-5 lead on a kill by Singleton. The Dolphins increased the margin to 13-7 with an ace by Lehman before an ace by August made it 15-8. The Techsters cut the deficit to 15-13 after an attack error by the Dolphins but JU answered with a kill by Singleton and a block assist by Kent and Drzewiecki to open up a 17-13 advantage. LT answered right back with a 4-0 run, capped by an attack error by the Dolphins, to even the set (17-17) but JU came back with a 6-0 run, fueled by three Lehman kills, to make it 23-17. The Dolphins would get kills by Kane and Singleton to even the match, 1-1.

In the third set, JU opened up a 6-3 lead on a kill by Kane but the Techsters used a 4-1 run to even the score at 7-7. Both teams would go through four ties until LT used a 5-1 run, capped by an attack error by the Dolphins, to open up a 16-12 advantage. JU would bounce back with an 8-2 run, capped by an attack error by Pinto, to take a 20-18 lead. The Techsters evened the contest, 21-21, after an attack error by the Dolphins, before both teams traded points to make it 22-22. LT got back-to-back kills by Panova and an attack error by JU to end the set with a 3-0 run and take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth frame, both teams battled through four ties until LT used a 5-1 run to take a 10-6 advantage. The Techsters made it 12-7 with a kill by Samantha Crowder but the Dolphins battled back to tied the set, 16-16, with a block by Lehman. Both teams would trade a point until LT used a 3-0 run, capped by a block assist by Bin and Crowder to make it 20-17. JU would answer right back with a 3-0 run of its own, fueled by consecutive kills by Singleton, to even the set again (20-20). Both teams would trade points, but the Techsters ended the frame with a 4-0 run to take the match.

JU will continue play in the Southern Miss La Quinta Inn Invitational against host Southern Miss at 8 p.m. ET.