Volleyball rallies for 3-2 win over North Florida

Oct. 26, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Freshman outside hitter Aidan Yeager finished with a match-high 18 kills while freshman setter Hannah Munneke added a double-double to lead the JU volleyball team to a win over North Florida, 3-2 (30-22, 26-30, 24-30, 30-24, 15-11), Friday evening in Atlantic Sun Conference and SunTrust River City Rumble action at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (15-11, 8-2) rallied from a 2-1 deficit to keep a hold of second place with a showdown against first-place Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 3. UNF (4-22, 1-9), which took an early advantage due to 14 receiving errors by JU, suffered its first loss to the Dolphins since 2005.

Junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf, who leads the squad in kills and is second in digs, did not play in the contest due to an injured elbow which will keep her out indefinitely.

"UNF has had a rough time this season but they brought it to us tonight," said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. "We put ourselves in a bad spot early on but we rallied together as a team and got the job done. With Sara out, we need people to step up to the challenge for us because we have a tough match coming up next week against Florida Gulf Coast."

Yeager led the offense for the second straight match and hit .342 (18-5-38) from the floor. Munneke notched 49 assists and 11 digs while senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant tallied 13 kills and a .379 (13-2-29) hitting percentage.

Freshman outside hitter Brittany Lehman had 14 kills, nine digs and match-high .414 (14-2-29) hitting percentage. Junior outside hitter Kesley Clark rounded out the offense with 11 kills. Sophomore libero Michelle Walroth led the defense with a match-high 28 digs and senior outside hitter Katie Hendrian chipped in with 11 digs.

Kaley Read and Claire Yonutas each finished with 16 kills to lead the Ospreys. Barry Rasmussen added 15 kills and a team-high .375 (15-3-32) hitting percentage. Madeline Belvin finished with 49 assists and 15 digs while Maegan Weisert (13 digs) and Tara Gilbreath (10 digs) rounded out the UNF defense.

In game one, JU took an early 7-3 lead after an attack error by Marshay Greenlee before UNF rallied with a 5-1 run to tie the contest (8-8) with an ace by Read. JU answered with a 6-2 run to lead 14-10 on an ace by freshman middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher before pushing the advantage to 19-12 on a kill by Clark. UNF cut the deficit to 21-18 on a kill by Rasmussen but JU finished with a 9-4 run, to finish with a .360 (18-3-41) hitting percentage, to take a 1-0 lead.

In the second frame, both teams battled through 16 ties and seven lead changes with UNF holding the largest lead (12-8) early on. After Merchant tied the contest for the final time (26-26) with a kill, the Ospreys ended the game with a 4-0 run to even up the match and snap a 10-game winless streak.

In the third game, the teams went through six ties and four lead changes as neither squad led by more than three points until an attack error by the Dolphins game UNF a 24-20 lead. JU answered with two consecutive points to make it 24-22 but UNF put up a 3-0 run of its own to push its advantage to 27-22 and finish out the game for a 2-1 lead in the match.

In game four, both team battled through four ties in the early going until JU took a 16-11 lead on kill by Yeager. JU pushed the lead to 20-14 after a block by Merchant and Clark but UNF cut the deficit to 25-21 on a kill by Read. The Dolphins finished the game on a 5-3 run to even the match and force a deciding game.

In the final frame, JU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after an attack error by Yonutas. UNF bounced back to tie the game, 5-5, with a kill by Greenlee but JU answered with a 3-0 to open an 8-5 advantage on a kill by Yeager. The Ospreys made it 9-8 after a service error by the Dolphins but JU used a 2-0 run to make it 11-8 on an attack error by Rasmussen. UNF would cut the deficit to 12-10 on a kill by Rasmussen but JU used a 3-1 run to complete the comeback.

JU will next host Savannah State in a non-conference match on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.