Volleyball hosts Nashville duo this weekend
Junior libero Shelley Walroth ranks fourth in the nation with 5.79 digs per set.
Junior libero Shelley Walroth ranks fourth in the nation with 5.79 digs per set.
The JU volleyball team has won five consecutive matches leading up to this weekend’s A-Sun matches at Swisher Gymnasium, beginning with Belmont (8-4, 3-1) on Friday at 7 p.m. The Dolphins conclude their homestand against defending A-Sun Tournament champion Lipscomb (6-6, 4-0) on Saturday at 5 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 in a double-double state of mind
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) and two straight road wins (Sept. 19-20). 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. On the road, Bendorf got back in the double-double groove with 17 kills and 11 digs against ETSU as the Dolphins won in Brooks Gym for the first time in three tries. Against USC Upstate, Bendorf tallied a match-high 17 kills and 10 digs to run her double-double total to five for the year. For the week, she finished with 34 kills, 4.86 kills per set, a .262 hitting percentage (34-13-80), 21 digs, three digs per set and three blocks in two matches.

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 in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career digs. 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 fourth in the nation with an average of 5.79 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 1,469 in her career and needs 627 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 36 blocks, 0.97 blocks per set and a .296 hitting percentage while also ranking second with 2.30 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 29 blocks and 0.76 blocks per set and is second with 87 kills.

Dolphins in the A-Sun rankings
In the team rankings, JU is first in opponent hitting percentage (.154) and assists (11.69 aps), second in blocks (2.08 bps) and is third in hitting percentage (.219), kills (12.44 kps) and digs (14.44 dps). Individually, junior libero Shelley Walroth is first in digs (226) and digs per set (5.79), sophomore middle hitter Abby Gruenbacher is second in blocks (36) and blocks per set (0.97), ninth in kills per set (2.30) and 10th in hitting percentage (.296), senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf tied for second in kills (142) and kills per set (3.64) and sophomore setter Hannah Munneke ranks fourth in assists per set (8.26).

Dolphin notables
JU is currently in the midst of its third longest winning streak under head coach Shaun Kupferberg with the longest being seven in 2007…junior libero Shelley Walroth led the Dolphin defense with 44 digs and an average of 6.29 digs per set…junior middle blocker Nicki Kent had a career weekend by averaging a team-best 1.75 blocks per set, including a career-high seven blocks against ETSU…against ETSU, JU snapped won its first match at Brooks Gym after going 0-2 since the Lady Bucs joined the A-Sun…freshman setter Ashley August notched her first career double-double (24 assists, 10 digs)…sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher finished with 10 kills and a .316 (10-4-19) hitting percentage…off the bench, Kent hit .444 (4-0-9) 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…junior libero Shelley Walroth led the defense with a match-high 19 digs…against USC Upstate, sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager finished with nine kills, a .467 (9-2-15) hitting percentage and three blocks…sophomore middle blocker Brittany Lehman tallied five kills, a .625 (5-0-8) hitting percentage and a match-high four blocks…Gruenbacher also added a match-high four blocks while Walroth notched a match-high 25 digs.