Volleyball opens A-Sun play at home this weekend
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Winners of its last three matches, the JU volleyball team (8-8) will host A-Sun action this weekend beginning with FGCU (3-11) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins will end the weekend with Stetson (1-15, 0-1) on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Eagles recently played a pair of non-conference matches in Nashville, earning a split with a 3-2 win over Belmont and a 3-0 loss to Lipscomb. The Hatters were swept by the Dolphins on Sept. 25 at the Curb Event Center and are winless since a 3-1 victory over Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 3. Fridays contest will be available on ASun.TV by logging onto Saturday’s match will not be available due to JU football’s home contest against San Diego.

Dolphin notables
With a 3-0 win over Stetson, JU has won its last three matches in straight sets and have reached the .500 mark for the first time this season...with a 3-2 loss to USF, the Dolphins dropped their first tournament finale (3-1) and their first five game set of the season (2-1)...JU’s win over UCF was the first since a 3-1 victory at Swisher Gymnasium on Aug. 31, 2005...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...JU played 14 matches away from Swisher Gymnasium to start the 2010 season. Its is the longest road stretch to start the season since joining the A-Sun in 1998.

Yeager bomb
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. In her fourth year with the program, Yeager is finding her way into the JU career record books for her abilities at the net. With two blocks vs. New Mexico on Sept. 18, Yeager surpassed Melissa Merchant (281, 2006-07) for second on the JU career list for blocks assists. She is now 64 shy of Danielle Neville’s (2002-05) program record of 353. She also moved into the top five in total career blocks with 299 and is 18 shy of surpassing Merchant (316) for fourth. Offensively, Yeager is making her way into the top five in career kills and is 91 kills away from becoming the sixth Dolphin to reach 1,000. She is currently 98 kills away from surpassing Sara Bendorf (1,006 - 2006-08) for fifth on the all-time list. This year, Yeager currently ranks ninth in the confernce standings with a .278 hitting percentage. She is also enjoying a career year in serving aces by ranking fourth in the conference with 0.38 per set.

Defense leads the way
JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg sets a precedent on defense and the stats have proven that since his arrival in 2006. This year, the Dolphins are off to a slow start defensively after 16 matches but are starting to show improvement and steady play. In his first season, the Dolphins ranked first in blocks, fourth in opponent hitting percentage and fifth in digs. In year two, JU ranked first in blocks, third in opponent hitting percentage and sixth in digs. In his third season, the Dolphins set the standard by ranking first in blocks and opponent hitting percentage and second in digs. Last year followed the same tune as the Dolphins ranked second in the A-Sun in opponent hitting percentage and digs while finishing third in blocks.

Mighty K.C.
After a slow start to her 2010 freshman campaign, setter Kendall Courtney is developing into the field general for an improving Dolphin offense and is the fresh new face in the A-Sun. Through her first five matches, Courtney registered 9.2 assists per set while the squad hit a combined .111. In the next five matches, she tallied 8.4 assists per set but the squad increased its mark to .201. In her last six matches, Courtney is picking up the pace with 11 assists per set while the Dolphin offense has increased their output to .256. With 545 assists thus far, the Houston native has current teammate Hannah Munneke’s single-season record (1,356) in her sights. She currently ranks fourth in the A-Sun with 9.6 assists per set. Defensively, she has also increased her dig effort en route to a team-high three double-doubles. Courtney also leads JU with 26 service aces which ranks her first in the A-Sun with 0.46 aces per set.

Here’s to you Ms. Robertson
Freshman middle blocker Alyssa Robertson is an immediate impact player for the Dolphins and has quickly established herself as one of the best at her position in the A-Sun. Thus far in 2010, the Pompano Beach, Fla. native leads the Dolphins with a .292 hitting percentage, 49 blocks and 1.09 blocks per set. The hitting percentage places her eighth in the A-Sun while her blocks per set average places her second. Along with her defensive prowess, Robertson ranks fourth on the squad with 86 kills and 1.91 kills per set while also ranking third with 13 aces and 0.29 aces per set.

Effective youth movement
Along with Courtney and Robertson, other true freshman are making an impact in their first season with the program. 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). Unfortunately, a back injury has slowed Nyquist’s progress as she has missed the last six matches. 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 is currently fourth in the A-Sun with 1.0 blocks per set. Freshman outiside hitter Niatha Cullen and freshman middle blocker Janell Larson have also been valuable contributers off of the bench. Freshman outside hitter Nadia Booker will sit out the year as a redshirt.