Volleyball Rolls to Tournament Title with Two Saturday Victories
Sammie Strausbaugh (Photo Credit: Skip Tapp)
Sammie Strausbaugh (Photo Credit: Skip Tapp)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University volleyball team continued its torrid start to the 2013 season, winning two more matches on Saturday to improve to 6-0 on the season.

The Dolphins return to action on Thursday and Friday at the FIU Invitational. JU will meet FIU on Thursday night, before playing two matches with South Dakota State and Chattanooga on Friday.

Jacksonville 3, Mississippi Valley State 0
(25-8, 25-15, 25-12)
The Dolphins overwhelmed Mississippi Valley State in Saturday’s opening contest, winning easily in straight sets. Kylie Jacob hit .625 in the match en route to a match-high 12 kills, adding six blocks, and Alyssa Robertson was a perfect 8-for-8 on the attack, scoring on every opportunity given to her. Taylor Nyquist had six of JU’s 13 service aces. Jacksonville’s dominance extended to its defense, holding the Devilettes to a -.065 hitting percentage.

The Dolphins put themselves in command from the get-go, upping a 5-3 lead to 12-3 with Nyquist on serve. MVSU dug a hole they couldn’t climb out of, allowing four aces from the Jacksonville junior over that stretch. When the Dolphins weren’t scoring off their serve, they were getting points out of their offense, hitting a remarkable .722 in the first set. JU tallied 14 kills in the first set against just one error to grab a 1-0 lead.

A 6-0 Jacksonville advantage immediately out of the gates in the second set proved too much for the Devilettes to overcome. Emily Laskelle provided the bookends to the Dolphin run before MVSU could get on the board. The lead grew to double-digits for the first time at 12-2, but the visitors continued to fight and got as close as seven as the set moved forward. Still, JU was never in any real danger and back-to-back points from Nyquist and a Devilette attack error gave Jacksonville the 25-15 win.

JU closed out the sweep with a 25-12 victory in the third. Jacob scored on each of her seven attacks in the set to propel the Jacksonville offense. Her final kill of the morning and a putaway from Lyndsey Lane ended the match in under an hour as the Dolphins improved to 5-0 and prepared for their tournament finale against Florida Atlantic.

Jacksonville 3, Florida Atlantic 1
(17-25, 25-20, 27-25, 25-20)

After steamrolling its last two opponents, the Dolphins found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the Florida Atlantic rematch. The Dolphins trailed all of the first set but ground out the next three for the win.

FAU turned the pressure on early in the matchup and led by as much as seven in the opening period. JU’s offensive struggles seemed to carry into the second set until Gabriela Roman turned it around for the team. The Owls had built a slight edge until kills from Roman allowed JU to separate itself and eventually take the set.

Both teams were determined to come away with set three and fought hard for every point. Unlike the previous sets, neither team was able to truly break away from the other. Knotted at 23-23, the teams tied two more times before a kill from Taylor Nyquist ended the set, 27-25.

Jacksonville hitting was much improved in the fourth and final set.  Great scoring production from the Dolphins allowed them to cruise to the victory behind four kills apiece from Strausbaugh, Jacob and Roman.

All-Tournament Team
Kylie Jacob - Jacksonville
Kendall Courtney - Jacksonville
(MVP) Sammie Strausbaugh - Jacksonville

Halle Clark - Mississippi Valley State
Meredith Parrott - Charleston Southern
Kristi Tekavec - Florida Atlantic
Katarina Stepanovic - Florida Atlantic