Volleyball blanks Campbell, 3-0, for best start in A-Sun era
Junior outside hitter Brooke Singleton
Junior outside hitter Brooke Singleton
The Dolphins are off to their best start since joining the A-Sun in 1998 as senior outside hitter Sara Bendorf and freshman setter Ashley August each tallied double-doubles for the second consecutive match to lead the JU volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-18), Saturday afternoon for “Dig Pink” at Swisher Gymnasium.

JU (13-6, 8-3), which matched the best start since 1997 (the program’s last year in the Sun Belt Conference), hit .229 (41-16-109) including a match-high .414 (14-2-29) in set two. CU (6-15, 4-8) hit .060 (41-16-109) in the contest as the Campbell lost to the Dolphins for the eighth consecutive time.

“Campbell has improved throughout the season and they gave us a good challenge today,” said JU head coach Shaun Kupferberg. “We were a little inconsistent but we pulled things together to get some key points when we needed it. Now we can look ahead to some big matchups this weekend.”

Bendorf led the Dolphins with a match-high 14 kills and 10 digs to notch her team-leading ninth double-double. August, who tallied her first consecutive double dip, finished with 19 assists and 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the year. Sophomore outside hitter Aidan Yeager added nine kills while sophomore middle blocker Abby Gruenbacher chipped in with seven kills, a match-high .778 (7-0-9) hitting percentage and three blocks. Junior libero Shelley Walroth led the defense with a match-high 16 digs.

Emily Werner led the Camels with 10 kills and nine digs while Hope Leatigaga added a match-high 25 assists and 10 digs. Sarah Hill also chipped in with nine kills and nine digs.

In the first set, JU jumped out to a 6-1 lead on an attack error by Hill but the Camels answered with a 5-0 run (capped by a block by Katie Stallings and Ashley Weers) to even the contest. Both teams went through five more ties until CU used a 2-0 run, capped by a kill by Stallings to take a 13-11 advantage. After the Camels increased the margin to 15-12 with an attack error by the Dolphins, JU used a 3-0 run (capped by an ace by Walroth) to even the match. CU answered with a 2-0 run to make it 17-15 and then increased the lead to 20-17 on an attack error by the Dolphins. JU answered with a 3-0 run, capped by an attack error by Leatigaga, to even the match again and both teams teetered through three more ties until a kill by Bendorf and an attack error by Caitlin Bendy gave JU a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Dolphins took an early 9-2 lead on an attack error by Caroline Hammersley and then increased the margin to 15-7 with a kill by junior outside hitter Brooke Singleton. CU cut the deficit to 17-13 with a 6-2 run but the Dolphins answered with a 3-0 run, fueled by consecutive kills by Bendorf, to make it 20-13. The Camels made it 21-18 with a kill by Hill but JU ended the set with a 4-2 run to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

In the final frame, held a lead of no more than three points (8-5) until CU used a 7-2 run to take a 12-10 advantage. Both teams went through five more ties until JU used a 6-0 run, fueled by a pair of blocks by Gruenbacher and Yeager, to make it 24-17. After a service error by the Dolphins, JU got a kill by Gruenbacher to end the match.

JU will next head to Nashville, Tenn. for a pair of A-Sun matches beginning on Friday against Lipscomb at 8 p.m. ET.