Volleyball heads to Orlando starting Friday
The JU volleyball team has one final tune up weekend before getting in the Atlantic Sun Conference schedule beginning Friday at the Towne Place Suites/UCF Challenge in Orlando, Fla.

The Dolphins (7-5) play FIU on Friday at 4 p.m. before closing the tournament the next day against either host Knights or UTEP. JU wraps the week on Sunday at Swisher Gymnasium against former A-Sun foe Troy at 5 p.m.

“This is our last opportunity to tune up for the conference schedule and we still have a lot to work on,” JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg said.” “We’re getting close, but we need to work on cleaning the little things up.”

The Dolphins has been building momentum the last two weeks – winning six of the last eight matches following a 1-3 start to the season.

On Sept. 9th, the Dolphins dropped their home opener to Presbyterian, but bounced back to defeat South Carolina State (3-1) and Savannah State.

JU used several different lineups through the first home matches which allowed freshman Nadia Booker and sophomore Niatha Cullen to flourish. Booker tallied 24 kills in 11 sets played and Cullen recorded 13 of her 16 assists in the win against Savannah State.

In the team rankings, Sophomore Taylor Nyquist currently leads JU with 117 kills and senior Alliya Drzewiecki is second with 110. Junior Alison Loeppky has recorded 31 blocks followed by sophomore Kylie Jacob with 30. Jacob is also among the top hitters in the A-Sun with a .375 percentage (78-18-160).

The Panthers (6-3) is on a three match winning streak as they embark to Orlando. Jovana Bjelica and Renele Forde each recorded double-doubles for FIU in the 3-0 win vs. Florida A&M on Sunday.

Bjelica paces the Panthers with 132 kills through 32 sets this season.

The Knights (8-2) has won six of their last eight matches to enter their final tournament of the season. All six victories were in three sets, while their lone loss came to USF, 3-1, on Sept. 11.

Angelica Crump enters with a team-best 141 kills, while Tory McCutcheon leads the Knights with 22 blocks. Meredith Murphy has recorded 145 digs for UCF.

Last season, the Dolphins edged the Knights, 3-2, in the finale of the Courtyard by Marriott/UCF Classic. Senior Kathryn Kane recorded 13 kills to pace the Dolphins.

The Miners (9-3) dropped its second straight match of the season in three sets to New Mexico State on Tuesday.

UTEP already has three players with more than 100 kills - led by Bridget Logan with 153 kills. Xitlali Herrera is second with 127 kills, but leads the Miners with 61 blocks.

The Trojans (8-4) return to the First Coast following a 3-2 win against Alabama A&M at home on Tuesday night.

Breanna Cullity comes into the match with a team-best 121 kills. Courtney Cohen paces the Trojans with 241 digs and Brittany McClelland is first in blocks with 43.

The Dolphins have won six of the last matches against the Trojans. JU secured 3-0 road win in the last meeting in 2004.

Fans can follow the match on Sunday through live stats and video streaming on A-Sun.TV by clicking the links on