Volleyball faces two-match A-Sun road trip
Sophomore defensive specialist Brittany Turnbull
Sophomore defensive specialist Brittany Turnbull
The JU volleyball team got some home cooking over the weekend to build momentum for another A-Sun road trip as the squad opens the weekend at ETSU (3-7, 0-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Brooks Gymnasium. The Dolphins conclude their two-match road trip at USC Upstate (3-7, 1-2) on Saturday at 3 p.m. Both road matches can be seen live on ASun.TV.

ASun.TV now available
The JU Dolphins made their season debut on ASun.TV against Mercer on Sept. 12 and more matches remain. To sign up to view any of the contests, or any other packages offered, log onto ASun.TV events will be available for viewing both live and via on-demand replay to fans throughout the country that purchase a Single Event Pass ($5.99 per event), a monthly All-Event Pass ($9.99 per month), or an annual All-Event pass ($69.99 per year). Both the annual and monthly All-Event Passes allow unlimited access to games within their respective timeframes.

Bendorf back in the groove
Senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf started the year off in a blaze as she tallied three-consecutive double-doubles. The next three matches, however, went the complete opposite as she failed to tally double-digit kills and JU went on a three-match slide. Things look like they are back to normal again for the senior swinger as she led the Dolphins to three consecutive wins at home (Sept. 12-14). For the homestand, she led the squad with 34 kills, a 3.78 kills per set average and 10 blocks while also hitting .377 (34-5-77) with 18 digs, a two digs per set average and three aces.

A family affair
Junior libero Shelley Walroth broke her own single-season digs record at JU with 672 last year and is now setting her sights on becoming only the 26th player to surpass 2,000 digs 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 on Sept. 30.. Walroth, who leads the Atlantic Sun Conference in digs, ranks 13th in the nation with an average of 5.32 digs per set. With all the JU records in her possession, her only target left is family bragging rights. Her sister, Julie, tallied 2,095 career digs to set the program record at Evansville (2004-07). A two-time Missouri Valley Conference “Libero of the Year,” Julie also set the single-season record with 656 her senior season. The younger Walroth currently holds the family single-season record but sits at 1,425 in her career and needs 671 to become the undisputed head of the family.

Dear Abby responds
Sophomore middle blocker 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 picking up the slack in 2008 by leading the squad with 30 blocks, one block per set and a .287 hitting percentage while also ranking second with 72 kills and 2.40 kills per set.

Yeager bombs
Sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager may not be the feature swing on the outside but she is quietly having a solid season as the first sub off the bench. In her first year, Yeager was the top freshman hitter and blocker in A-Sun after ranking fourth in the conference with 1.05 blocks per game and 2.76 kills per game. She was also third on squad in hitting percentage (.236) which was tops among all A-Sun freshmen outside hitters. This year, she ranks second on the squad with 23 blocks and 0.74 blocks per set and is third with 71 kills, 2.29 kills per set and a .226 hitting percentage.

Dolphins in the A-Sun rankings
In the team rankings, JU is first in opponent hitting percentage (.156), second in assists (11.25 aps) and blocks (1.94 bps) and is third in hitting percentage (.210), kills (12.06 kps) and digs (14.16 dps). Individually, junior libero Shelley Walroth is first in digs (182) and digs per set (5.69), sophomore middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher is first in blocks (30) and blocks per set (1.00) and tied for eighth in kills (72), senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf ranks fourth in kills (104) and sophomore setter Hannah Munneke ranks fourth in assists per set (8.72).

Dolphin notables
Against UNF, the Dolphins had their two-match winning streak snapped with...JU 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 Mercer, the Dolphins snapped a three-match losing streak and ended the Bear’s four-match winning streak with the win...the squad hit a season-best .287 (43-14-101) in the contest, including a match-high .440 (15-3-27) in set three...sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher tallied a match-high 11 kills, a .530 hitting percentage and four blocks...freshman setter Ashley August had 19 assists, seven digs and two aces in her first collegiate start...against Kennesaw State, senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf finished with a match-high 11 kills and a .320 (11-2-28) hitting percentage..sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager tallied 10 kills, a .210 (10-5-23) hitting percentage and three blocks...against Bethune-Cookman, the Dolphins won their third consecutive match in straight sets.. senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf tallied a match-high 13 kills and a .522 (13-1-23) hitting percentage… junior outside hitter Brooke Singleton tallied five kills, a .385 (5-0-13) hitting percentage and 10 digs.