Volleyball opens weekend with 3-0 win over Mercer
Sophomore Kathryn Kane
Sophomore Kathryn Kane
Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman tallied a career-best 17 kills while senior libero Shelley Walroth notched a match-high 15 digs as the JU volleyball team defeated Mercer, 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-21), Friday evening at the University Center.

JU (9-5, 5-2), which has won six consecutive matches, hit .291 in the contest including a match-high .419 (16-3-31) in set one and tallied nine blocks. The Dolphins, who were without senior middle blocker Nicki Kent, had their three match streak with .300 hitting percentage come to an end.

MU (3-11, 1-6) finished .040 during the contest including a match-low -.079 in the second set.

“This is a great start to the weekend and I’m happy with the way we have a new person leading the team each match,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We have had to make some adjustments but the girls are doing a great job of making them work.”

Walroth who recently surpassed her sister, Julie, to become the undisputed head of the family, is now 104 digs shy of cracking the top 25 all-time in NCAA history.

Along with her career best in kills, Lehman hit .375 (17-2-40) from the floor while notching six digs and two blocks. Junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager added 10 kills and a .333 (10-3-21) hitting percentage while senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton chipped in with 12 digs and eight kills. Sophomore middle blocker Kathryn Kane finished with six kills, three aces and a career-best six blocks. Junior setter Hannah Munneke paced the offense with a match-high 39 assists while adding nine digs.

Krista Hurley led the Bears with eight kills while Ashley Skidmore led the defense with 13 digs. Amiee Frutchey (11 digs) and Rachel Urbelis (10 digs) also contributed for Mercer.

In the first set, Mercer jumped out to an early 4-2 lead on a service error by the Dolphins but JU would answer with an 8-0 run to take a 10-4 advantage. The Dolphins increased the lead to 14-7 with a kill by Lehman before making it 18-9 with a block assist by Yeager and Kane. JU increased the margin to 22-12 with a solo block by freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky and the Dolphins would take a 1-0 lead in the match after a block assist by Singleton and Kane.

In the second frame, the Dolphins opened the set with a 10-0 run after a solo block by Kane. The Bears would answer with a 4-0 run, capped by a kill by Frutchey, to cut the margin to 10-4. Both teams would trade points until JU took a 16-8 advantage with a kill by Kane. Mercer would cut the deficit to 18-14 with a block assist by Hurley and Urbelis but JU answered with a 5-0 run, capped by a bad set by Chelsea Green, to make it 23-14. The Dolphins would take a 2-0 lead into the break after a kill by Loeppky.

In the third set, both teams would go through four ties until Mercer used a 3-0 run to open up a 12-9 advantage on a block assist by Frutchey and Hurley. Down 15-12, JU answered with a 5-0 run (capped by a kill by Loeppky) to take a 17-15 lead. Both teams would trade points until JU opened up a 21-18 advantage with a kill by Singleton. The Dolphins increased the margin to 23-19 with an ace by Munneke and would seal the match with kills by Yeager and Lehman.

JU will conclude the weekend of A-Sun action against Kennesaw State on Saturday at 3 p.m.