Volleyball opens A-Sun play with River City Rumble
Sophomore setter Hannah Munneke
Sophomore setter Hannah Munneke
After facing some stiff competition in Gainesville, the JU volleyball team (2-3) sets its sights on the SunTrust River City Rumble and the opening of Atlantic Sun Conference play against UNF (2-3) at UNF Arena on Tuesday at 7 p.m. After facing the Lady Ospreys, the Dolphins will play a three-game homestand at newly renovated Swisher Gymnasium beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. against Mercer. JU’s match against UNF can be seen live on ASun.TV. The Dolphins’ home opener against the Bears can also be seen on ASun.TV.

Dolphin notables
Sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager was named to the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational all-tournament team after leading the Dolphins with 13 kills, a 2.17 kills per set average and four blocks while hitting .333 (13-3-27) in two matches…freshman outside hitter Kathryn Kane had her most efficient match in her young career by hitting .500 (8-0-16) against Florida A&M...sophomore middle hitter Brittany Lehman also had a solid weekend by leading the squad with a .381(9-1-21) hitting percentage and four service aces...JU volunteer assistant coach Rich Hall was a long time assistant coach at UNF prior to joining Shaun Kupferberg’s staff.

Another one bites the dust
Junior libero Shelley Walroth broke her own single-season digs record at JU with 672 last year and is poised to destroy the career record with two full seasons remaining in her career. After tallying the JU single-season record for digs, Walroth surpassed Julie Heipp - 1,324 (1991-94) on the career list with 25 against Georgia Southern and now she currently has 1,344 for her career. This season, Walroth is setting the standard in the A-Sun by leading the conference with 5.32 digs per set.

Bendorf named A-Sun “Player of the Week”
Senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf was awarded the first Atlantic Sun Conference "Player of the Week" for 2008 after tallying three double-doubles to lead the Dolphins to a Holiday Inn Tournament title over the weekend in Statesboro, Ga. Bendorf, who also earned all-tournament honors for the weekend, was the first Dolphin to earn the weekly honor since she received the award for the first time on Sept. 25, 2006. Against UCF, she tallied 21 kills, 10 digs and a .190 (21-10-58) hitting percentage as the Dolphins fell to the Knights, 3-2, in day one. Against Presbyterian, Bendorf led the squad to its first win of 2008 with a match-high 15 kills and 10 digs while also tallying three blocks. In the tournament finale against host Georgia Southern, she finished with a match- high 18 kills and 10 digs while also tallying two blocks and a .292 (18-4- 48) hitting percentage. For the weekend, Bendorf led the squad with 54 kills and 4.15 kills per set while ranking second with a .233 hitting percentage and third with 30 digs and a 2.31 digs per set average. Her 3.53 kills per set average ranks her second in the A-Sun.

Still big up front
Sophomore middle blocker/outside hitter Abby Gruenbacher is also coming off a freshman campaign which earned her A-Sun all-freshman accolades but must fill the shoes of departed middle Melissa Merchant. As a freshman, Gruenbacher ranked third in the conference and led all freshmen with 98 total blocks, including a season-high 13 total blocks vs. New Orleans. She also ranked second on the squad in hitting percentage (.263) and went over .300 on 13 occasions. Gruenbacher is off to a nice start in 2008 by leading the squad with 20 blocks while also ranking second with 44 kills. In the conference rankings, she leads the A-Sun with 20 blocks and 1.05 bpg and is 10th with 2.32 kills per set.

Hannah’s money
Sophomore setter Hannah Munneke (pronounced mun-ah-key) was thrown into the pool without much security in her first season with the program but she certainly didn’t sink. In her first season, Munneke earned Atlantic Sun Conference all-freshman honors after ranking third in the A-Sun with 11.61 assists per game while also leading all setters in service aces (35) and blocks (58). She also set a new single-season assists record (1,356) surpassing Erin Donivan (1,244 - 2005) and is on pace to shatter the career assist record of 3,969 by Michelle Glover (1991-94). In 2008, Munneke is hitting her stride by leading the conference with 10.16 assists per set.

Head coach Shaun Kupferberg
Shaun Kupferberg enters his third season at the helm of the Dolphin volleyball program after five successful seasons as the head coach at Northwest University. In his second year with the program, Kupferberg led JU to its most wins (19) since 1997 and tied for the most conference wins (8) in program history. The back-to-back appearances in the conference tournament final were also the first time a Dolphin squad had accomplished the feat since JU began conference play in 1983. In his inaugural year at JU, Kupferberg went through growing pains with his new squad but eventually led JU to the A-Sun Tournament Finals for only the second time in program history. His five-year record at Northwest was 91-52, with only one losing season (his first) during that time frame. During his tenure, he led Northwest to its highest national ranking ever (10th) and to its first-ever regional championship match.