@JUvolleyball Falls in Five-Set Heartbreaker
Sammie Strausbaugh (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)
Sammie Strausbaugh (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After earning their 20th win of the season and continuing on a 10-match win streak Friday night, the Jacksonville University volleyball team slips to No. 2 in the Atlantic Sun after suffering a 3-2 loss at No. 3 Lipscomb on Saturday [25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 19-25 and 12-15]. This is Jacksonville’s first defeat since losing at Stetson, 3-2, on Sept. 21.

Jacksonville falls to 20-3 overall, 10-2 in the Atlantic Sun and 7-3 on the road. This was JU’s fifth five-set match of the season; the Dolphins are 3-2. Lipscomb stays at No. 3 in the A-Sun and improves to 16-6 overall and 10-2 in the A-Sun.

"Tough loss today,” said Head Coach Michelle Collier. “We came in to the match ready for a battle, but I think we lost our focus a little bit after a crucial call by the referee in game three and we just let that affect our momentum and Lipscomb started putting more pressure on us with their serve and their defense."

Jacksonville won the first two sets before Lipscomb rallied for two straight of its own to force a five-set match.

In the fifth, the Lady Bisons moved from a 4-2 lead to an 8-3 lead on one kill, two attack errors and one service ace. Sammie Strausbaugh recorded two kills to improve from 9-4 to 9-6, but the Lady Bisons retaliated with two for an 11-6 advantage. The Dolphins scored four straight from 14-9 to 14-12, but were unable to escape with the win as JU was called for an attack error to end the match.

“Hats off to [Lipscomb] for never giving up and taking this match away from us,” Collier continued. “We will take the good things we were able to do from this match and work harder in the gym to get better. It is a tough road trip, it took a lot from us, but I am proud of how we dealt with it and how we put ourselves in position to win the matches we played. We came away with the win on Friday, but today our opponent executed better than we did at crucial moments and they came out on top. That is what sports are all about; we will keep our heads high and continue to work!"

Jacksonville opened the first game with an 11-6 lead with help on four straight from 4-3 to 7-3 on two attack errors and kills by Alyssa Robertson and Gabriela Roman. The Lady Bisons fought back with three to stand down 11-9 before scoring within one at 20-19 on a Jewell Dobson kill. But the Dolphins tallied three and earned the final point on a Kendall Courtney kill to win 25-21.

JU maintained its advantage in the second set, scoring to a 14-6 lead on five chucks of points. Lipscomb recorded three straight on two kills and one service ace for a 23-16 score, but JU closed out the win on a Taylor Nyquist kill and one attack error to take a 2-0 match advantage.

Lipscomb gained ground in the third when it broke back-and-forth momentum for seven consecutive points from 17-15 to 21-17. The Lady Bisons managed two straight kills and earned the rest on five attack errors. JU was down 24-20 before Lipscomb won on a kill, 25-20.

The Lady Bisons forced a fifth set by winning the fourth 25-19. They muscled their way out from down 14-13 to leading at 18-14 on two attack errors, two kills and one ball handling error before scoring the final two points on straight kills.

Strausbaugh led Jacksonville with a double-double in 17 digs and 12 kills. Rachel Miller followed with 12 digs and Courtney had 10. Kylie Jacob had another high-kill performance with 15, while hitting a match-high .545 for the second consecutive match. Roman also tallied 12 kills and had two block assists, along with Strausbaugh, Jacob and Robertson.

Next, Jacksonville travels for a mid-week non-conference match at Savannah State on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Then JU will return for four straight home matches at Swisher starting Nov. 1.