Volleyball hosts two this weekend

After pushing its winning streak to seven matches, the JU volleyball team (10-5, 6-2) will return to the friendly confines of Swisher Gymnasium beginning with ETSU (6-10, 5-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins will complete the home stand against Campbell (11-7, 5-3) on Saturday at 3 p.m. Last season, the Dolphins swept the season series with the Lady Bucs (2-0) for the first time since 2005 (1-0). Against the Camels, JU won the season series (3-0) last year and have won the last six meetings between the two schools. Friday’s match, which was named the A-Sun “Match of the Week” can be viewed on ASun.TV by logging onto 

Dolphin notables
After being shutout in straight sets against Belmont and Lipscomb, JU has won seven straight matches. The streak ties the longest under Shaun Kupferberg (2007)...the longest winning streak for JU since joining the A-Sun in 1998 was 11 by the 2003 squad...the Dolphins have also won 11 straight home matches which is the longest in the Division I era (1985-current).

Walroth counting down
Senior libero Shelley Walroth reached yet another milestone and is setting her sights on cracking one of the top 25 spots in NCAA history. After tallying the JU single-season record for digs as a freshman, Walroth surpassed Julie Heipp (1,324,1991-94) on the career list last season with 25 against Georgia Southern on Sept. 30, 2008. As a junior, she earned first team all-conference and A-Sun Defensive “Player of the Year” accolades while also garnering 2008 AVCA “Libero of the Year” Honorable Mention honors after ranking fourth in the nation with 5.87 dps. This year, Walroth added an A-Sun record to her belt by overtaking Ann Mullins of Lipscomb (1,969) for career digs with 21 against Sam Houston State on Sept. 5. With 17 at Belmont, she surpassed 2,000 in her career and her next targets are family bragging rights and the NCAA Top 25. Walroth’s sister, Julie, tallied 2,095 career digs to set the program record at Evansville (2004-07). The younger Walroth already holds the family single-season record and surpassed her elder sibling with 12 digs against Stetson to become the undisputed head of the family. In the NCAA career standings, Walroth needs 62 digs to crack the top 25 all-time and has a chance to etch her name in the record books for some time. The Division I record for career digs is 3,176 by Lara Newberry of Chattanooga from 2005-08. Walroth currently leads the A-Sun with an average of 5.24 digs per set. She has also found her way into the national rankings by sitting 16th with her digs per set average.

Dolphins in the A-Sun rankings
In the team rankings, JU is first in opponent hitting percentage (.136)...second in hitting percentage (.215) and digs (16.06 dps)...fourth in service aces (1.51 aps)....fifth in blocks (1.86 bps) and assists (11.35 aps). Individually, senior libero Shelley Walroth is first in digs per set (5.24) and second in digs (267)...senior middle blocker Nicki Kent is first in blocks per set (1.19) and fourth in hitting percentage (.327)...junior setter Hannah Munneke is seventh in assists per set (6.94)...junior middle blocker Brittany Lehman is eighth in aces per set (0.35)...junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager is seventh in kills per set (3.21) and 10th in hitting percentage (.296).

Defense leads the way
JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg sets a precedent on defense and the stats have proven that since his arrival in 2006. Last season, JU took defense to a new level as the Dolphin led nearly every A-Sun category. In his first season, the Dolphins ranked first in blocks, fourth in opponent hitting percentage and fifth in digs. In year two, JU ranked first in blocks, third in opponent hitting percentage and sixth in digs. Last year, the Dolphins set the standard by ranking first in blocks and opponent hitting percentage and second in digs. This year is following the same tune as the Dolphins lead the A-Sun in opponent hitting percentage while ranking second in digs and fifth in blocks.

No “Clark” in this Kent
Senior middle hitter Nicki Kent is coming into her own in 2009 after being in the shadows of former teammates Melissa Merchant and Abby Gruenbacher. Since her arrival as a transfer from Wyoming in 2007, Kent has mainly been used off the bench or as a serving specialist as she tried to find her niche. Now in her final season with the program, she is the main presence at the net for the Dolphins and the numbers are beginning to reflect it. Kent currently leads the A-Sun in blocks with 1.19 blocks per set and also ranks fourth in the conference with a .327 hitting percentage.

Brooke’s “E”-normous weekend
Senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton, or Brook with an “E,” had a career weekend to help push the Dolphins' match winning streak to five with wins over FGCU and Stetson. In an epic five set victory over the Eagles, she finished with 14 kills and a career-high 18 digs to notch her third career double-double. In a sweep over Stetson, Singleton kept things rolling with a career-high 17 kills and nine digs while also hitting .375 (17-5-32) in the contest. For the week, Singleton led the squad with 31 kills, a 3.88 kills per set average and three aces while ranking second with 27 digs and a 3.38 digs per set average and hitting .333. She currently leads the Dolphins with 137 kills and is second with 2.69 kills per set, 15 service aces and 2.82 digs per set.