Volleyball begins three-match homestand on Friday at 7 p.m.
Sophomore middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher
Sophomore middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher
The Dolphins are in a bit of a funk over the last three matches but things don’t get easier as the JU volleyball team (2-4, 0-1) continues Atlantic Sun Conference play against Mercer (5-3, 1-0) for its home opener on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins continue their three-game homestand at newly renovated Swisher Gymnasium on Saturday against Kennesaw State (5 p.m.) and Sunday against Bethune-Cookman (5 p.m.). JU’s match against the Bears can be seen live on ASun.TV.

Dolphin notables
The Dolphins had their two-match winning streak against UNF snapped with Tuesday night’s loss...JU has dropped three consecutive matches for the first time since opening the 2007 season with four straight losses...junior libero Shelley Walroth got back on the right track with 30 digs against the Ospreys...sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher was another bright spot for the Dolphins by leading the squad with 12 kills, a .375 (12-3-24) hitting percentage and three blocks.

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 1,374 for her career. This season, Walroth is setting the standard in the A-Sun by leading the conference with 131 digs and 5.70 digs per set.

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 23 blocks while also ranking second with 56 kills. In the conference rankings, she leads the A-Sun with 23 blocks and one bpg and is 10th with 2.43 kills 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.