Volleyball defeats Alumni in preseason warm up
Back row (L to R): Danielle Neville, Lindsay Ward, Candice Rose, Petya Borisova, Kristin Chapman, Aleisha Rodriguez, Katie O'Brien and Kristy Smith. Front row (L to R): Brooke (Ahrens) Roach and Brooke Jackson.
Back row (L to R): Danielle Neville, Lindsay Ward, Candice Rose, Petya Borisova, Kristin Chapman, Aleisha Rodriguez, Katie O'Brien and Kristy Smith. Front row (L to R): Brooke (Ahrens) Roach and Brooke Jackson.
The JU volleyball team got its first game experience of the year while 10 former Dolphins got to play on campus for the first time since ending their careers as the 2008 squad won a spirited match over the JU Alumni, 4-0, Saturday evening at newly renovated Swisher Gymnasium.

Sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager led the squad with 11 kills while hitting .380 from the floor while sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher added 10 kills and a match-high .530 hitting percentage. Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Kane chipped in with seven kills and a .330 hitting percentage.

“We came out nervous and slow to start things off but we hit our stride in the second game and played well,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We serve/received really well but we are still getting used to a new offense.”

The JU Alumni squad, which came out firing in the opening game, consisted of Brooke (Ahrens) Roach (OH, 1999-02), Petya Borisova (OH, 2003-06), Kristin Chapman (S, 2001-02), Brooke Jackson (MH, 2001), Danielle Neville (MH, 2002-05), Katie O’Brien (DS, 2006-07), Aleisha Rodriguez (OH/MH, 2001-02), Candice Rose (OH, 2001-04), Kristy Smith (OH, 2001-02) and Lindsay Ward (MH, 2002-05).

“We were excited to have the alumni come back and have such a great turnout,” said Kupferberg. “We want to make this an annual event since they were the ones to put the program where is today with their conference titles and individual accolades. Part of our goal in building this program is to reach out to those who have been here before us.”

In the first game, the Alumni took a 2-1 lead on a block assist by Brooke (Ahrens) Roach and Kristin Chapman. The Alumni increased the margin to 6-3 on an ace by Candice Rose but the Dolphins evened the contest, 6-6, on an ace by senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf. The Alumni evened it up again with a solo block by Brooke Jackson, but the Dolphins used a 5-1 run to make it a 12-8 margin, capped by an ace by freshman defensive specialist Ashley August. The Alumni cut the deficit to 12-10 on a block assist from Chapman and Danielle Neville, but the Dolphins took a 19-15 advantage on a kill by freshman Kathryn Kane before increasing the margin to 22-17 on an ace by August. The Dolphin took a 1-0 advantage in the match with a 3-1 run, capped by a kill by Bendorf.

In the second game, the Dolphins jumped out to a 5-1 lead on a kill by Kane and then increased the lead to 11-2 on an ace by August. After a block assist by Alumni’s Lindsay Ward and Jackson, the Dolphins increased the lead to 17-6 on an ace by sophomore Hannah Munneke. The two squads traded points in the next 12 plays but the Dolphins took a 2-0 lead in the match on a kill by Gruenbacher.

In game three, each team traded points until a kill by Petya Borisova gave the Alumni an early 2-1 advantage. The Dolphins retook the lead, 5-2, on an ace by junior libero Shelley Walroth to cap a 4-0 run. After a kill by the Alumni’s Rose made it a 13-5, the Dolphins answered with a 7-0 run finished off by a block assist by Kane and junior middle blocker Nicki Kent to make it 20-5. The Dolphins outscored the Alumni, 5-3, to take a 3-0 lead in the match.

In the extra game, the Dolphins jumped out to an early 7-1 lead before a kill by Bendorf made it 15-4. After kills by the Alumni’s Katie O’Brien and Kristy Smith cut the deficit to 23-7, the Dolphins got a kill by Gruenbacher and an ace by Bendorf to end the game.

The two teams mixed and matched players in the final game of the evening with the home team consisting of Sara Bendorf, Aidan Yeager, Kathryn Kane, Brooke Jackson, Aleisha Rodriguez, Katie O’Brien, Hannah Munneke and Brittany Turnbull. The visiting team was comprised of Abby Gruenbacher, Danielle Neville, Candice Rose, Lindsay Ward, Shelley Walroth, Kristin Chapman, Petya Borisova, Brooke (Ahrens) Roach, Kathryn Kane and Ashley August. In an extremely close game which saw players trying to mesh without ever meeting, the home team pulled it out 25-18.

JU will open the 2008 regular season against UCF on Aug. 29 at 5 p.m. to open the Georgia Southern Tournament.