Volleyball downs Belmont, 3-1
Junior libero Shelley Walroth
Junior libero Shelley Walroth
Make it six straight matches for the Dolphins as senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf tallied her third consecutive double-double and junior libero Shelley Walroth notched a match-high 25 digs to lead the JU volleyball team to a 3-1 (27-25, 25-14, 18-25, 25-18) win over Belmont, Friday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (8-4, 5-1), which ran its record to 4-0 at home, hit .201 (45-15-149) in the contest and tallied a match-high eight team blocks. BU (8-5, 3-2) hit .146 (50-28-151) and had a match-high 20 unforced errors (10 service, six receive, four ball handling).

“We started sluggish but we turned it on in the second set,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “Our offense was consistent, except for set three when it disappeared, but our defense is what won the match for us tonight. Belmont is a championship team and it’s always good to pick up a win against tough competition.”

Bendorf tallied a match-high 19 kills and 11 digs to run her double-double total to six for the year. Sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager finished with nine kills and a .269 (9-2-26) hitting percentage.

Sophomore middle blocker Brittany Lehman tallied a match-high four blocks and sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher added a match-high four blocks, five kills and four digs. Junior outside hitter Brooke Singleton chipped in with 14 digs, four kills and three blocks.

Cat Mundy led the Bruins with 12 kills while Channing Salava finished with 38 assists and 15 digs. Emily Cahill added 11 kills while Jenny Gray (13 digs) and Kayla Albritton (12 digs) added to the defense.

In the first set, BU jumped out to a 4-1 advantage after an ace by Mundy and then increased the margin to 9-5 on a kill by Mundy. JU answered with a 5-0 run, capped by a kill by Gruenbacher, to take a 10-9 lead. Both teams battled through 10 more ties before the Bruins used a 2-0 run to hold set point, 24-22, after a kill by Maggie Johnson. The Dolphins answered with a 3-0 run, sparked by consecutive aces by junior middle blocker Nicki Kent, to take a 25-24 lead. After the streak ended with a service error, JU took a 1-0 lead in the match after consecutive attack errors by the Bruins.

In the second set, JU jumped out to a commanding 10-3 lead after a ball handling error by Salava and then increased the margin to 14-5 with a block by Yeager and Lehman. The Dolphins made it 20-10 with a kill by freshman outside hitter Karyn Kane and would lead by as many as 11 points (24-13) before taking a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the third frame, the Dolphins took a 4-1 lead on a service error by Mundy but the Bruins used a 4-1 run to even the contest, 5-5, after an attack error by JU. Both teams went through two more ties until the Bruins used a 6-2 run, capped by another Dolphin attack error, to take a 14-10 lead. Both teams would trade points until BU increased the lead to 19-14 on a block by Salava and Gray. The Bruins increased the margin to 21-15 with a kill by Mundy and would never falter below six points the rest of the way to cut the match to 2-1.

In the final set, JU took another early 4-1 lead on consecutive kills by Bendorf but the Bruins answered with a 3-0 run to tie the contest (4-4). After another tie, JU used a 5-2 run to increase the lead to 9-6 with an ace by Lehman. The Bruins cut the margin to 10-9 with a 3-0 run but JU answered with a 4-0 run, capped by a Mundy attack error, to make it 14-9. BU would trim the deficit to two points on two occasions (the last being 16-14) but the Dolphins used a 5-2 run to increase the margin to 21-16. Each team traded a point after that but JU sealed the match with a 3-0 run.

JU will return to Swisher Gymnasium for Atlantic Sun Conference tomorrow against reigning tournament champion Lipscomb at 5 p.m. The contest can be viewed live on ASun.TV.