Volleyball battles rival North Florida at A-Sun Tourney
The JU volleyball team will take on cross-town rival North Florida in the first round of the A-Sun Tournament tonight at 8:30 in Nashville, Tenn.

The Dolphins (10-22) will look to snap a five-match losing streak to the Ospreys (20-11) as JU returns to the tournament for the first time since the 2009. It’s also fitting JU is playing UNF since they won the tiebreaker over the Dolphins for the final tourney seed the last two seasons.

“Qualifying to the conference tournament is a tremendous accomplishment for this season,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “The conference was very competitive this year and every match was a hard fought battle. Our team continued to grow and work hard, and kept our heads high despite the many obstacles we have had this season. I am proud of our group of young women and of our staff for their hard work and dedication to making this program better. We are happy to be here and we will fight to get as far as we can.”

The Dolphins picked up the fifth seed into the tournament following five-set home wins against East Tennessee State and USC Upstate to round out the A-Sun schedule.

Freshman Sammie Strausbaugh recorded 50 kills, 29 digs and 12 aces to lead JU to three wins last week.

Strausbaugh opened the week with 13 kills in the win at Bethune-Cookman. She tallied 20 kills, 13 digs and six aces against the Spartans before finishing the week with 16 kills and five aces vs. ETSU. Three of her five aces came helped claim JU’s final points for the win in the fifth set.

For her efforts, she was named A-Sun Player of the Week for the second time in the last three weeks. She also claimed A-Sun Freshman of the Year accolades Tuesday as well as a spot in the all-freshman team with fellow teammate Gabriela Roman.

The Ospreys ended the regular season winning the nine of their final 10 matches. UNF’s lone loss came to Florida Gulf Coast at home, 3-1, Oct. 26. They earned a 3-1 win in Swisher and a 3-0 win in UNF Arena over JU to sweep the season series for the second straight season.

“UNF has been able to put very good performances against us this season,” Collier said. “I feel we have not put our best against them yet. They are a very talented team, with a lot of seniors, and we know they will bring their best against us again tomorrow. We are prepared for it and embracing the opportunity. There will be some great volleyball being played during this tournament and may the best team win.”

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