Volleyball wins epic 3-2 match over FGCU
Junior Hannah Munneke
Junior Hannah Munneke
Junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager racked up a career-high 21 kills and hit .349 while two other Dolphins finished with double-doubles to lead the JU volleyball team to a 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 19-25, 15-8) win over Florida Gulf Coast, Friday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (7-5, 3-2), which has won four consecutive matches, won its first five-set contest since Oct. 26, 2006 against UNF, exercising the demons of a 0-5 mark in deciding games last season. The Dolphins finished with a match-high 10 blocks and a .303 hitting percentage.

FGCU (6-7, 5-2) dropped its second straight conference match, and its second straight to JU, after hitting a match-low .150, including a .071 effort (5-3-28) in the final set.

“This was a tremendous match and I’m very excited about the way we responded in the final set,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We tried a few new things tonight and the girls responded to help us get an early lead. FGCU is too good of a team not to battle back and they made some adjustments to get back in it. Fortunately, we found a way to put the match away at the end.”

Senior libero Shelley Walroth, who finished with a match-high 21 digs, is now six shy of the family record and 131 digs shy of cracking the top 25 all-time in NCAA history.

Along with Yeager, junior setter Hannah Munneke set a match-high 61 assists to go with 13 digs and two blocks. Senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton also notched a double-double with 14 kills and 18 digs. Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman tied a career-best with 16 kills while senior middle blocker Nicki Kent added eight kills, a .583 (8-1-12) hitting percentage, seven blocks and five digs. Freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky chipped in with six kills and three blocks in her first career start.

Jelena Simic led the Eagles with a match-high 25 kills and 10 digs while hitting .300 (25-7-60). Chandra Lefever added a double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs while Jacqueline Cowden chipped in with 10 kills. Holly Lundquist (16 digs) and Ashley Yance (three blocks) led the FGCU defense.

In the first set, JU jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a block assist by Yeager and Kent before increasing the margin to 10-2 with a kill by Lehman. Both team would trade points for a long period of time until the Dolphins took a 22-13 advantage on a block assist by Kent and Munneke. The Eagles would cut the margin to 24-18 after an attack error by JU but the Dolphins would take a 1-0 lead in the match after a kill by Yeager.

In the second frame, both teams would battle through 10 ties until JU used a 3-0 run to open up a 16-13 advantage on a kill by Singleton. After a kill by Cowden, the Dolphins used a 3-0 run, capped by a kill by Singleton, make it 19-14. JU increased the margin to 22-16 after an attack error by Brittney Muse and both teams would trade points until a kill by Yeager gave the Dolphins a 2-0 lead into the break.

In the third set, FGCU jumped out to a 4-2 lead on a kill by Cowden and then increased the margin to 10-5 with an ace by Lefever. After an attack error by the Dolphins made the deficit 12-6, a ball handling error by JU increased the lead to 14-7. FGCU made it 17-9 after consecutive kills by Simic but the Dolphins would cut the margin to 20-16 after an attack error by Simic. JU would use a 6-2 run to even the contest, 22-22, with a block assist by Loeppky and Yeager but the Eagles got consecutive errors by JU to make it 24-22. After a kill by Yeager, FGCU cut the deficit to 2-1 with a kill by Cowden.

In the fourth frame, both teams battled through four ties until FGCU used a 2-0 run to take an 8-6 lead on a kill by Simic. Both team would trade points until the Eagles went on a 3-0 run, capped by a ball handling error by the Dolphins, to increase the lead to 13-9. FGCU increased the margin to 17-11 after an attack error by JU but the Dolphins would use a 7-3 run to cut the deficit to 20-18 after an attack error by Lindsey Childs. FGCU would answer with a 5-1 run to even the match and force a final set.

In the deciding game, both teams went through three ties until JU used a 2-0 run to open up a 5-3 lead with a kill by Singleton. Both teams would trade points until the Dolphins got a service error by Youngquist and a kill by Yeager to make it 8-5. After a block assist by Childs and Yance cut the deficit to 8-6, JU opened the flood gates with a 6-0 run to make it 14-6. FGCU answered with a kill by Childs and block assist by Yance and Laurel England but JU got a kill by Lehman to end the match.

JU will continue A-Sun action at Swisher Gymnasium as the Dolphins host Stetson on Saturday at 3 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV by logging onto