Volleyball’s streak comes to an end with 3-0 loss to Lipscomb
Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman
Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman
Everyone knew questions would be answered as two of the hottest programs in the country faced off against each other, unfortunately for the Dolphins, they didn’t get the answers they wanted as the JU volleyball team fell to first-place Lipscomb, 3-0 (28-30, 27-29, 22-25), Friday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (16-6, 12-3) had its 13 match winning streak and program record 13 match home winning streak come to an end after hitting a match-low .163. It was only the third time the Dolphins hit below .200 in its last 14 matches (UNF, Campbell).

LU (21-3, 16-0) increased its winning streak to 18 while winning its ninth straight road contest by coming up with the big play when needed.

Both teams played free volleyball in each of the first two sets while combining for 39 ties and 17 lead changes in the hotly contested match.

“Lipscomb proved why they are in first place,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We came into this match wanted to gauge where we are at and now we have something to go off of as we head into the final stretch of the season. Our goal now is take care of business the rest of the way and carry some momentum into the tournament.”

Senior libero Shelley Walroth, who finished with 14 digs in the contest, moved into 14th place on the all-time NCAA digs list with 2,294.

Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman led the Dolphins with 13 kills and a.393 (13-2-28) hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager tallied nine kills and five blocks while senior middle blocker Nicki Kent finished with a match-high seven blocks. Senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton added to the defense with 15 digs.

Meghan Hinemeyer led the Bisons with a match-high 16 kills while tallying seven digs and a team-best .355 (16-5-31) hitting percentage. Alex Kelly notched 15 kills, eight digs and five blocks while Jake Pease added 41 assists and 14 digs.

In the first set, JU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane. LU evened the match (4-4) on kill by Kelly and both teams would battle through two more JU used a 3-0 run to take a 10-7 advantage on a kill by Singleton. LU would answer back with a 4-0 run, capped by an ace by Kelly, to take an 11-10 lead. For the remainder of the set, both teams would go toe-to-toe as neither team led by more than two points while racking up 16 ties. The bout came to an end when the Bisons got a block assist by Erin Pierce and Amy Trykowski and JU finished with an attack error to give LU a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second frame, both teams went through three ties until the Bisons used a 2-0 run to take a 5-3 lead on a kill by Hinemeyer. LU increased the margin o 8-5 with a kill by Pierce but JU answered with a 5-0 run, capped by a bad set by Pease, to open up a 10-8 lead. The Bisons tied the set, 11-11, after an attack error by the Dolphins and both teams would battle through six more ties until LU used a 4-0 run to open up a 23-19 lead on a kill by Hinemeyer. Both teams traded points until the Bisons held set point with 24-21 lead but JU rallied with a 3-0 run, capped by an attack error by Kelly, to even the contest again (24-24). Both teams would go through three more ties until the Bisons got a kill by Kaycee Green and a block assist by Green and Kelly to take a 2-0 lead into the break.

In the third set, JU took an early 3-1 lead on a kill by Kane but LU answered with a 6-1 run to open up a 7-4 advantage after an attack error by the Dolphins. The Bisons increased the lead to 10-6 with a kill by Hinemeyer and both teams would trade points until a 2-0 run by the Dolphins cut the margin to 21-19 after an attack error by Kelly. After a kill by Green, JU cut the deficit to 22-21 with consecutive kills by Lehman. After each team traded points, LU ended the set with kills by Kelly and Hinemeyer to seal the match.

JU will return action on Saturday at 3 p.m. as the Dolphins host Belmont at Swisher Gymnasium.