The Spartans (8-13, 3-6 A-Sun) hit a modest .200 (42-17-125) average to make the Dolphins’ (4-18, 2-7) winless for the road trip. Kayla Eversgerd led the Spartan offense with 10 kills, while Kayla McAvoy tallied nine kills.
“We didn’t have it today,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “We came out a little flat and it’s tough to bounce back from a slow start. We need to put this away quickly because we have two tough teams coming to play us next weekend.”
Junior Kylie Jacob and freshman Sammie Strausbaugh each had seven kills to pace the JU offense. Jacob also had five blocks, while junior Kendall Courtney recorded 28 assists and 19 digs in the loss.
In the first set, the Dolphins took a 12-10 lead on a Jacob kill. The teams traded leads until the Spartans took a 19-16 advantage on an Emily Bingham kill. The Dolphins cut the deficit to 23-21 on an error, but a timeout helped set up kills for Eversgerd and Emily Weiss to give USC Upstate the 1-0 lead.
In the second set, the Spartans used an early 7-2 run to build a 12-7 advantage. The Dolphins would cut the lead to five for the third time, 18-13, from a Courtney kill. USC Upstate quashed any comeback with a 7-4 stretch to take the set for the 2-0 advantage.
In the final set, the Dolphins came out on fire by gaining a 14-7 lead on consecutive kills by freshman Gabriela Roman and junior Alyssa Robertson. The Spartan countered with a 10-5 run, capped on three straight JU errors, to cut the deficit to 19-17. After a timeout, a block by Jacob and Courtney gave JU a 22-17 lead. USC Upstate wouldn’t back down, cutting the score to 23-22 on an Eversgerd kill. The Spartans broke up two different Dolphin set points before getting consecutive Jania Jackson aces for the win.
The Dolphins return to action Friday when they host Northern Kentucky for an A-Sun match at Swisher Gymnasium. First serve is set for 7 p.m.