SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2009
Volleyball secures No. 2 seed with 3-1 rally win over Mercer
Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent
Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent
Junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman helped spark the Dolphin offense with a match-high 17 kills while senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton notched her 11th double-double of the year to lead the JU volleyball team over Mercer, 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-19), Saturday evening at Swisher Gym.

JU (19-8, 15-5), which secured the No. 2 seed in the A-Sun Tournament next week, rallied from a 1-0 deficit to finish with a match-high .284 hitting percentage, nine blocks and 83 digs.

MU (11-18, 9-11) fell to 0-8 at Swisher Gymnasium and had its five-match winning streak snapped after finishing with a match-low .218, including a match-low .093 in the fourth set.

“It was a hard fought match tonight against a tough Mercer squad,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We are really happy to get that first round bye but I’m happy that we are heading into the tournament with some momentum. Now we have to focus on playing with consistency and we will see how things go.”

Senior libero Shelley Walroth, who finished with a match-high 27 digs in the contest, moved into seventh place all-time on the NCAA digs list with 2,426 and is 29 shy of moving into the top five.

Along with her match high in kills, Lehman also added a .438 (17-3-32) hitting percentage. Singleton continued her strong play by tallying 14 kills, 12 digs, a match-high five blocks and a .341 (14-0-41) hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent was also lightning rod for the offense with 12 kills and a career-best .706 (12-0-17) hitting percentage while adding four blocks. Junior setter Hannah Munneke also added a double-double with 58 assists and 12 digs while sophomore defensive specialist Ashley August chipped in with 15 digs.

Krista Hurley led the Bears with 12 kills while Amiee Frutchee (11 kills, 12 digs) and Rachael Urbelis (11 kills, 14 digs) each tallied double-doubles. Erica Vrvilo also chipped in with 11 kills while Charlotte Harris (19 dig) and Libby Hansch (five blocks) each lead the defense.

In the first set, both teams went through two ties until MU used a 4-0 run to take a 7-3 advantage on a kill by Libby Hansch. Both teams would trade points until JU cut the margin to 12-10 with a kill by junior outside hitter Kathryn Kane. The Bears answered with a 3-0 run, capped by a kill by Hansch, to make it 15-10 but JU would counter with a 5-1 run to cut the margin to 16-15 with a block by junior outside hitter Brittany Lehman and junior setter Hannah Munneke. Both teams would trade points until MU used a 3-0 run to take a 22-18 lead with a kill by Charlotte Harris. Both teams would trade points the rest of the way until a kill by Erica Vrvilo gave the Bears a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second frame, both teams went through seven ties before JU used a 5-2 run to open up a 14-11 lead on an ace by Singleton. Both teams would trade points and the Dolphins would lead by no more than three points until MU used a 3-0 run to even the contest, 23-23, on a kill by Anna Coursey. JU would answer with consecutive kills by Lehman to even the match, 1-1, heading into the break.

In the third set, the Bears jumped out to a 4-1 lead on a block by Hurley and Urbelis but JU would even the contest (7-7) with a kill by Kent. Both teams would go through two more ties until the Dolphins used a 4-1 run, capped by a kill by junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager, to make it 14-11. JU increased the margin to 16-12 after an attack error by Vrvilo but the Bears would use a 6-2 run, capped by a kill by Frutchey, even things up again (18-18). Both teams would go through four more ties until the Dolphins ended the frame with kills by Kent and Lehman to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the fourth frame, JU jumped out to an 8-1 lead on a kill by Lehman but the Bears would cut the deficit to 12-10 with a kill by Frutchey. The Dolphins would answer with a 5-0 run, capped by a kill by Singleton, to push the lead to 17-10. Both teams would trade points the rest of the way until JU got a kill by Singleton to seal the match.

JU will make final preparations before competing in the A-Sun Tournament next week in Fort Myers, Fla. The Dolphins will face the winner of No. 3 Florida Gulf Coast/No. 6 Campbell on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals.