One non-conference tournament remains as the JU volleyball team plays in the Hilton Garden Inn Tournament in Tampa, Fla. this weekend.
The Dolphins will open the event on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in The Corral against FAU. JU will close out the weekend on Saturday against New Mexico at 11 a.m. before facing host USF at 7 p.m.
FAU (6-5) went 0-3 at the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic including a 3-0 loss to the Dolphins.
New Mexico (5-5) went 2-1 to win the Lobo Challenge with victories over Sacramento State (3-1) and SMU (3-1) before a 3-2 loss to UC Santa Barbara. The Lobos started their week with a 3-2 over New Mexico State on Tuesday.
USF (3-5) recently finished 1-2 in the Southern Illinois Tournament with losses to Mississippi State (3-2) and Southern Illinois (3-0) and a win over Southeast Missouri State (3-0).
Each contest can be viewed through LiveStats and audio/video streaming by logging onto JUDolphins.com.
JU’s win over UCF was the first since a 3-1 victory at Swisher Gymnasium on Aug. 31, 2005...it also marked the first back-to-back wins of the 2010 campaign...the Dolphins are ending their weekends on a high note by going 3-0 in tournament finales...JU kept up its winning record in five-set matches (3-1 in 2009) by defeating UCF, 3-2, and running its 2010 record to 2-0...the Dolphins’ seven true freshman in 2010 is the most on a roster since joining the A-Sun in 1998. The closest number was six during the 2003 season.
With an infusion of youth, there is a necessary need for veteran leadership and you can look no further than senior outside hitter Aidan Yeager.
The towering southpaw is off to a hot start in 2010 by leading the squad with 80 kills, 2.35 kills per set and 37 blocks. She also ranks third in the A-Sun with 1.09 blocks per set.
In her fourth year with the program, Yeager is finding her way into the JU career record books for her abilities at the net. She currently ranks third in career block assists with 279 and is three shy of surpassing Melissa Merchant (281, 2006-07) for second.
She is also two total blocks shy of surpassing Carrie Wendell (1995-98) for fifth on the all-time list.
Effective youth movement
Not only is the JU roster filled with seven true freshmen, but some of them are finding themselves in the starting lineup.
Middle blocker Alyssa Robertson and setter Kendall Courtney are making the biggest impacts thus far as Robertson was named to the Big Orange Bash all-tournament team while Courtney garnered Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic all-tourney team accolades.
In the second weekend, freshman outside hitter Taylor Nyquist led the defensive effort by racking up a season-high 24 digs at Sacred Heart (9/4) and now ranks second on the squad with 2.18 digs per set.
Freshman middle blocker Kylie Jacob also found her way into the starting lineup at the CBM/UCF Classic and tallied a season-high nine blocks in the win over UCF. She now ranks second in the A-Sun with 1.13 blocks per set.
Kane and Courtney named all-tourney
If there is to be a turning point for the Dolphins in 2010, the weekend spent at the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic may very well be it.
After dropping a highly contested match to Sweet 16 participant Baylor, JU won back-to-back matches over FAU and UCF.
Although the performances over the weekend varied from match to match, junior outside hitter Kathryn Kane and freshman setter Kendall Courtney were each named to the all-tournament team.
Kane led the squad with 25 kills and 2.27 kills per set while Courtney racked up 89 assists, nine kills, a .438 hitting percentage, six service aces and 13 digs.
Loeppky makes history
Sophomore middle hitter Alison Loeppky got off to a slow start to 2010 but her hard work in practice is starting to pay off on the court.
While enjoying her best outing as a Dolphin with a career-high 12 kills against FAU (9/10), her .750 (12-0-16) hitting percentage went a lot further by tying a JU individual match record. Her mark now ties her with Tiffany Twaddle, who hit .750 (12-0-16) against Samford on Nov. 5, 1999.