Volleyball Earns Most Wins Since 1987
Taylor Nyquist (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)
Taylor Nyquist (Photo credit: Skip Tapp)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The No. 2 Jacksonville University volleyball team earned their 26th win of the season after beating No. 9 USC Upstate, 3-1, on Friday night [25-20, 25-22, 19-25 and 25-19]. 26 wins is Jacksonville’s most since the 1987 squad posted 29.

The Fins improve to 26-3 overall, 15-2 in the Atlantic Sun and are riding a six-match win streak.

This is the third team in program history, in addition to the 2009 and 2008 squads, that have boasted 15 conference wins since joining in 1998.

Both senior Kendall Courtney and sophomore Sammie Strausbaugh led Jacksonville with their 12th double-doubles of the season. Courtney tallied a match-high 44 assists and 12 digs, the latter for the fifth time this season, her second-highest total, while Strausbaugh recorded match-highs in kills (18) and digs (20). The sophomore tallied 18 kills for the fourth time this year and 20 digs for the second.

In addition to Strausbaugh’s double-digit kill numbers, seniors Alyssa Robertson and Kylie Jacob added 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Robertson added a .450 attack percentage, a career-best three set assists, one service ace, one block solo and three block assists. Jacob hit .269 and tallied three block assists.

Junior Mayara Prestes followed Strausbaugh’s 20 digs with a career-high 16 and tied a career-best three set assists. Sophomore Emily Laskelle and freshman Lauren Homrich each hit .500; Laskelle went 4-0-8 in three sets, while Homrich finished 3-0-6 in two games.

Jacksonville was up two sets to none, outhitting USC Upstate .375 to .226 in the first and .275 to .250 in the second, before USC Upstate stuck it out and won the third set, hitting .209 to JU’s .136, to force a fourth.

The Spartans led 8-3 after five straight from three kills and two attack errors. The Fins then rallied back within one, down 14-13, on two Strausbaugh kills, one Robertson kill and one attack error. The Spartans then regained their momentum for a 20-15 upper-hand on three kills and one attack error and ultimately won, 25-19, closing with two straight points.

USC Upstate maintained their momentum in the fourth and final set with a kill and attack error before the Fins cruised on a big wave of five consecutive points from two Gabriela Roman kills, one Nyquist kill and two attack errors to lead 6-3. USC Upstate then controlled with five of their own, leaving a 6-7 trail for a 10-7 lead, until the Dolphins controlled at 15-14 and never looked back. Of the final 10 points, the Fins scored seven.

Next, Jacksonville is in for a big regular-season finale at No. 1 ETSU tomorrow at 3 p.m. The Bucs lead the A-Sun 16-1, but if JU wins tomorrow then both teams will stand with a 16-2 record.