Freshman Gabriela Roman registered 20 kills and 10 digs in only her third match of the season to lead the Dolphins’ (1-8) offense. Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh had 12 kills, while junior Kendall Courtney and freshman Chunia Graves each posted five blocks. JU finished the match with 20 blocks.
“I’m proud of how our team kept fighting this match,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We have had a very challenging pre-season and our girls have kept their heads high. It feels great to get our first win, but there still a lot of work to be done. We can wait to get back in the gym and get better.”
The Cajuns (4-6) were led by Blair Claypoole who finished with 21 kills, four blocks and three service aces. Kelly Wiesmann had 13 kills, while Lavinia Tartaran and Caitlyn Auxilien each recorded 16 digs.
After falling in the first two sets, Roman had a kill to tie the third frame at nine for the Dolphins. She helped the Dolphins take a 17-14 advantage on a kill and an ace. Louisiana-Lafayette took the next three points to tie the set at 17 and prompt a JU timeout. The Dolphins settled and took a 21-19 advantage on a Courtney ace. Claypoole pulled the Cajuns within one twice (23-22, 24-23) on kills, but Roman added another kill on a Courtney assist to give JU the set.
Louisiana-Lafayette opened the fourth set with an 8-6 lead on a Wiesmann kill. A block by Courtney and senior Alison Loeppky sparked an 11-4 run to give JU a 17-12 advantage. Mandi Gavin capped a 7-1 stretch with a kill to tie the set at 18. The teams tied three times until the Dolphins took a 24-23 on a Strausbaugh kill. The Cajuns added a kill to break up set point. JU benefitted from a service error and a Loeppky kill to force a deciding set.
In the fifth set, an error and two kills from sophomore Taylor Nyquist gave the Dolphins a 5-3 advantage. JU extended its lead to 11-6 on three straight Roman kills. Louisiana-Lafayette wouldn’t go away by scoring the next five points to tie it at 11. Two Nyquist kills helped set up match point for JU at 14-11, but a ball-handling error capped a 4-0 run by the Cajuns to tie it again. A Roman kill and a Louisiana-Lafayette error finally helped JU secure its first win.
Nyquist finished her day with eight kills and 11 digs, while senior Nicole Teplitz led the Dolphins with 15 digs. Courtney had 13 digs to go along with her 50 assists.
The Dolphins return to action Friday against Savannah State and South Alabama in the Spring Hill Suites Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.