Volleyball makes it four in a row with 3-1 win at ETSU
Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Kane
Freshman outside hitter Kathryn Kane

Make it four matches in a row for the Dolphins as senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf and freshman setter Ashley August each tallied double-doubles to lead the JU volleyball team to a 3-1 (20-25, 31-29, 31-29, 25-17) win over ETSU, Friday evening at Brooks Gymnasium.

JU (6-4, 3-1), which won its first match at Brooks Gym in three tries, hit .229 (54-21-144) in the contest, tallied a match-high 11 team blocks and got strong performances from the bench. ETSU (3-8, 0-4) hit .161 (59-32-168) but had 20 unforced errors (10 service, nine receive and one ball handling).

“ETSU is a young, talented team and they played well against us,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We had trouble controlling our blocks and hitting around their blocks in the first two sets but we righted the ship in the next two sets to help us come away with a good road win. We are going to learn from this match and we are going to be a much improved team now that we have battled though a pair of 31-29 sets. ”

Bendorf tallied a match-high 17 sets and 11 digs while August dished out 24 assists and 10 digs for her first collegiate double-double. Sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher finished with 10 kills and a .316 (10-4-19) hitting percentage. Off the bench, junior middle blocker Nicki Kent hit .444 (4-0-9) with a career-high seven blocks and freshman outside hitter Kathryn Kane notched eight kills and six blocks.

Sophomore setter Hannah Munneke dished out 24 assists to go with seven digs and junior libero Shelley Walroth led the defense with a match-high 19 digs.

Erin Ryan led the Lady Bucs with 12 kills while McKayla Barber finished with 11 kills and a match-high .409 (11-2-22) hitting percentage. Jamie Stancliff chipped in with 11 kills, Jen Neice added a team-high 18 digs and Amanda Youell finished with 23 assists, 13 digs and nine kills.

In the first set, both team battled through seven ties until ETSU used a 2-0 run to take a 9-7 lead. JU came back to tie the contest three more times until the Lady Bucs used a 3-0 run, capped by a Ryan kill, to take a 16-13 advantage. The Dolphins would rally to tie the score four more times, the last coming at 20-20, but ETSU ended the set with a 5-0 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Lady Bucs jumped out to an early 7-2 lead after a block by Barber and Stancliff and then increased the margin to 12-5 with a kill by Ryan. JU answered with a 9-3 run, capped by an attack error by Barber, to cut the deficit to 15-14 but ETSU rattled off three straight point to push the lead to 18-14. The Lady Bucs increase the advantage to 21-15 on a kill by Ryan but JU answered with a 6-1 run, capped by a Singleton kill, to cut the deficit to 22-21. ETSU held set point (24-22) after a kill by Youell but the Dolphins took advantage of two Lady Bucs errors (Ryan service, Lauren Baufield attack) to tie the contest at 24-24. Both team battled through five more ties until JU ended the set with a 2-0 run, capped by an August ace, to even the match.

In the third frame, JU took a 7-4 lead after an attack error by Baufield but the Lady Bucs cut the margin to 10-9 after an attack error by the Dolphins. JU answered with a 6-2 run, capped by a kill by Walroth, to push the advantage to 16-11. ETSU would battle back to tie the set, 20-20, but the Dolphins put up two consecutive points to recapture the lead at 22-20. JU held set point (24-22) but a kill by Stancliff and a ball handling error by the Dolphins evened the contest at 24-24. Both team would battle through five more ties until JU used another 2-0 run, fueled by attack errors by Whitney Cogburn and Ryan, to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

In the final set, JU jumped out to an early 7-3 lead and would use a pair of kills by sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager to spark a 4-0 run and push the advantage to 12-5. The Dolphins pushed the advantage to 17-9 with an ace by Walroth but ETSU would cut the margin to 18-13 with a kill by Cogburn. JU’s lead would never dip below five points the remainder of the way as the Dolphins used a match-high .375 (12-2-24) hitting percentage to secure the match.

JU will complete its Atlantic Sun Conference road trip against USC Upstate on Saturday at 3 p.m. with the match being available on ASun.TV.