Volleyball rally falls short in 3-2 loss to ETSU
Freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky
Freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky
The Dolphins rallied from a 2-1 deficit but could not complete to comeback as the JU volleyball team fell to East Tennessee State, 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 16-25, 11-15), Saturday afternoon at Brooks Gym.

JU (17-8, 13-5) dropped its third match in four opportunities despite tallying a team-best .306 in the first set en route to a 1-0 lead. The Dolphins hit a match-low .171 and has now hit under .200 for the fourth consecutive contest, its longest streak of the season.

ETSU (11-16, 9-9), which is battling for a bid to the A-Sun Tournament, won a tight contest in the second set and built momentum to take a 2-1 advantage. In the final frame, the Bucs match-high 13 blocks help hold JU to a match-low -.111 hitting percentage.

“I always talk about consistency on offense and tonight was a perfect example of it,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We get off to a great start to get the early lead and then we aren’t able to put balls away. We righted the ship in the fourth set but we couldn’t carry that over to the final frame. If we are going to be successful in the tournament, we need to find our rhythm offensively.”

Senior libero Shelley Walroth, who finished with a match-high 28 digs in the contest, moved into ninth place all-time NCAA digs list with 2,378 and is 77 shy of moving into the top five.

Junior setter Hannah Munneke, who tallied 44 in the match, moved into fifth place on the JU all time assists list (2,795) to surpass Erin Donivan (2,793, 2002-05).

Sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane notched her fifth double-double of the year with 13 kills and 13 digs while junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager finished with 12 kills, five blocks and four digs. Senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton tallied 11 kills and eight digs and freshman middle blocker Alison Loeppky notched 10 kills, a team-high .261 (10-4-23) hitting percentage and four blocks. Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent added a team-high six blocks while sophomore defensive specialist Ashley August chipped in with 12 digs.

Desiree Dyck led the Bucs with a match-high 15 kills to go with 13 digs and four blocks. Whitney Cogburn finished with 14 kills, 12 digs, six assists and three blocks while Alysa Long added 14 kills and a match-high eight blocks. Amanda Youell tallied 54 assists, 16 digs, five kills and three blocks. Lauren Baufield also chipped in with 13 digs to help the defense.

In the first set, JU jumped out to a 3-1 lead on a kill by Kane but ETSU evened the match (4-4) after an attack error by the Dolphins. JU answered with a 2-0 run to take a 6-4 advantage and then increased the margin to 8-5 after an attack error by McKayla Barber. JU increased the lead to 10-6 on an attack error by Long and then used a 4-1 run, capped by a block by Kane and Kent, to make it 14-7. Both teams would trade point until JU used a 3-0 run to make it 19-11 with a kill by Singleton. Each team would trade points again until a service and attack error by the Bucs gave JU a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second frame, JU jumped out to a 4-1 lead on a block by Kent and Yeager and then used a 3-0 run to increase the margin to 9-4 on a kill by August. ETSU would slowly chip away at the lead until a 5-0 run by the Bucs, capped by a kill by Long, gave them a 19-17 lead. JU would slowly battle back to tie the contest (23-23) after an attack error by Erin Ryan but a service error by the Dolphins and a block by Long and Youell evened the match heading into the break.

In the third set, both teams went through two ties until a 5-1 run by ETSU gave the Bucs a 7-3 lead. JU would cut the deficit to 9-8 on an attack error by Cogburn but the Bucs would answer with a 5-1 run, to make it 14-9. The Bucs increased the lead to 19-13 after an attack error by the Dolphins and then used a 4-1 run to make it 23-14 on a kill by Cogburn. Another service error and an attack error by the Dolphins would give ETSU a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth frame, ETSU took a 4-1 lead on a kill by Barber but JU would answer with a 7-0 run to take an 8-4 advantage. The Dolphins increased the lead to 12-7 with a kill by Singleton but the Bucs would cut the margin to 14-13 on a block by Dyck and Long. JU would fight off ETSU for the next few points until the Dolphins pushed the lead to 19-16 with a kill by Loeppky. After an attack error by the Dolphins, JU used a 3-0 run to increase the margin to 22-17 on a kill by Singleton. Both teams would trade points the rest of the way until kill by Yeager and an attack error by Dyck evened up the match (2-2).

In the final frame, both teams went through three ties until ETSU used a 4-0 run to open up an 8-4 lead on an attack error by the Dolphins. JU would cut the margin to two points on three occasions (the last at 11-9) but ETSU would end the frame on a 4-2 run to take the match.

JU will return home to end the 2009 regular season beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. against Kennesaw State.