Volleyball falls to FGCU, 3-0, to end A-Sun play

Nov. 3, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Freshman middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher tied a season high with 12 kills but the JU volleyball team fell to Florida Gulf Coast, 3-0 (22-30, 24-30, 23-30), Saturday afternoon at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (16-12, 8-3) hit .100 (30-18-120) for the contest and were out blocked for only the third time this season. FGCU (23-2, 10-1) hit .266 (54-21-124) as a team while also recording match highs with 66 digs and 10 blocks to lead the Eagles the A-Sun regular-season title.

"FGCU is a great team and they proved to be the best team in the conference," said Kupferberg. "We came out and played hard today but now we need to refocus and get ready for one more match against UNF before we head to the A-Sun Tournament."

Gruenbacher, who recorded 12 kills at Miami on Aug. 25, hit a team-best .345 (12-2-29) from the floor and recorded three blocks. Senior middle blocker Melissa Merchant added six kills and three blocks while sophomore libero Michelle Walroth led the defense with 14 digs. Walroth, who set a program record with 571 digs last year, has now broken her own record with 585 in 2007. The Dolphins played the contest without junior outside hitter Sara Bendorf and freshman outside hitter Brittany Lehman in the lineup due to injury.

Roberta Santos led the Eagles with 15 kills and 25 assists while Anna Kokanovic added 14 kills and a match-high .458 (14-3-24) hitting percentage. Patricia Silva recorded 12 kills to round out the FGCU offense and Brooke Younquist led the defense with 20 digs. Whitney Hendry chipped in with 14 digs while Ashley Yance tallied a match-high seven blocks.

In game one, FGCU took an early 10-3 lead after a kill by Santos and increased the lead to 18-9 on another kill by Silva. JU would cut the margin to seven 20-13 on a service error by Kokanovic but the Eagles answered with a 5-1 run to take a 25-14 advantage after a bad set by the Dolphins. JU would get no closer than seven points (29-22) as FGCU took a 1-0 lead.

In the second frame, each team went through four ties early on until FGCU opened up an 11-6 lead after a kill by Santos. JU battle back to tie the contest, 15-15 and 19-19, but could not recapture the lead as the Eagles answered the second tie with a 4-0 run to lead 23-19 after a pair of aces by Kokanovic. The Dolphins pulled to within three (25-22) after a service error by Santos but the Eagles ended the game with a 4-2 run to take a 2-0 lead.

In the final frame, both teams went through five early ties before the Eagles used a 5-0 run to lead 10-5. JU cut the margin to 17-15 after a kill by Gruenbacher but the Eagles pushed the lead to 24-17 with a 7-2 run. JU would pull to within six (26-20) on a kill by Merchant but FGCU ended the game hitting a match-high .290 (17-6-37) to take the match. The contest was also Senior Night for the Dolphins as defensive specialist Katie O'Brien, outside hitter Katie Hendrian and Merchant each played in their final home match at Swisher Gymnasium.

The Dolphins play a non-conference match at North Florida for another point in the SunTrust River City Rumble on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. to end the regular season.