FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2009
Volleyball falls to FGCU, 3-0, in semifinals of A-Sun Tournament
After a long and arduous 2009 season, the winds of change came abruptly and slammed the door in a blink of an eye as the JU volleyball team fell to No. 3 Florida Gulf Coast, 3-0 (27-28, 24-26, 18 -25), Friday evening in the semifinal round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament at Alico Arena.
JU (19-9) could not generate any type of momentum in the contest and never held a lead in a set larger than three points. The Dolphins hit a match-low .204 and finished with a season-low three team blocks.
FGCU (18-12) advances to face No. 1 Lipscomb on Saturday afternoon despite losing its top offensive player, outside hitter Jelena Simic, with the score tied at 27-27 in the first set. The Eagles carried the emotion of losing its first-team all-conference selection by hitting a match-high .309, including a match-high .455 in set three, while racking up 73 digs to continue plays.
“The first thing you have to say is that Florida Gulf Coast put together a great all-around performance tonight,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “They played with great emotion after Simic was unfortunately injured and they were all over the court. This is not the way you want your season to come to an end but they were the better team tonight.”
Senior libero Shelley Walroth, who finished with a match-high 30 digs in the contest, ends her storied career in fifth place on the NCAA career digs list with 2,456. She also ranks fifth in the NCAA standings for career digs per set average with 5.53.
Senior outside hitter Brooke Singleton ended her Dolphin career by leading the squad with 14 kills while hitting a team-high .317 (14-1-41) with seven digs. Singleton ends the year with a career best 311 kills and 300 digs. Senior middle blocker Nicki Kent also played in her last contest and finishes the year by leading the conference with 1.18 blocks per set.
Junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager finished with nine kills while sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Kane added eight kills.
Jacqueline Cowden led the Eagles with 10 kills and a match-high .474 (10-1-19) hitting percentage while Chandra Lefever added 46 assists and 10 digs. Despite playing in only one set, Simic finished with 10 kills, seven digs and a .429 (10-1-21) hitting percentage. Holly Youngquist led the defense with 18 digs while Anna Wagner notched eight kills and 15 digs.
In the first set, JU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a kill by Loeppky but the Eagles would use a 13-2 run to open up a 13-5 lead on a kill by Simic. JU would use an 8-2 run, capped by an ace by Walroth, to cut the deficit to 16-14. The Eagles would push the lead to 20-15 on a kill by Wagner but JU would even the score, 22-22, on a kill by junior outside hitter Aidan Yeager. Both teams would trade points until FGCU got a kills by Lefever and Lara Metz to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In the second frame, both teams traded points until FGCU used a 3-0 run to take a 5-2 lead on an attack error by the Dolphins. JU would use a 4-0 run, capped by a kill by Kane, to take a 6-5 lead but the Eagles would use a 4-2 run to take a 9-7 advantage. JU would answer back with a 2-0 run, capped by a Singleton kill, to even the match once again (9-9). Both teams would trade points until the Eagles used a 2-0 run, capped by kill by Ashley Yance, to take a 12-10 lead. The Dolphins would even things up again, 14-14, on a bad set by Lefever and then take a 16-15 advantage on a kill by Singleton. Both teams would trade points until the Dolphins used a 2-0 run, capped by an attack error by Cowden, to open up an 18-16 lead. JU would make it 20-17 on an ace by Munneke but the Eagles would use a 6-2 run, capped by a block assist by Julia Lopez and Yance, to take a 23-22 lead. Both teams would trade points until the Eagles got consecutive kills by Cowden to take a 2-0 lead in into the break.
In the third set, both teams traded points until the Eagles used a 2-0 run to take a 4-2 lead on an ace by Lefever. JU would even the contest, 4-4, on a kill by Lehman and both teams would go through five more ties until the Dolphins used a 2-0 run to take an 11-9 lead. FGCU would answer with a 9-3 run, capped by an attack error by the Dolphins, to take an 18-14 lead. Both teams would trade points until a kill by Lefever gave the Eagles a 21-16 advantage. Both teams would trade points again until a kill by Yance gave FGCU a 23-17 lead. The Eagles would get a kill by Yance and an attack error by the Dolphins to seal the match.