@JUvolleyball Falls in Five-Set Heartbreaker
Sammie Strausbaugh
Sammie Strausbaugh

DELAND, Fla. – It was five-set heartbreaker that did JU in to close out its A-Sun opening weekend, falling 3-2 at Stetson (23-25, 23-25, 25-14, 25-21, 12-15). Overall, the Dolphins went 1-1 over the weekend, shutting out FGCU 3-0 Friday evening. Jacksonville drops to 10-2, 1-1 A-Sun, while Stetson improves to 10-5, 2-0 A-Sun.

The Dolphins were led by Sammie Strausbaugh who recorded 15 kills and 11 digs. Gabriela Roman, for the second straight match, led in kills, with a team-high 17, which tied Stetson’s Kaley Melville. Third in kills for the Dolphins was Taylor Nyquist with 11. Rachel Miller topped with 19 digs, while Kendall Courtney had eight. Kylie Jacob tallied a match-high eight block assists and Emily Laskelle followed with six.

For Stetson, in addition to 17 kills, Melville headed with a match-high 42 TA and had eight digs. Tiffany Creamer was second in kills with 14 and Cailyn Prewitt had 10. Kayla Weller led with 12 digs and Michelle Kastner (11) and Julie Bassett (10) rounded out the top three. Ellen Hawks recorded five block assists and Melville had four.

With a 2-2 set tie, JU and Stetson sat 12-12 in the decisive fifth set until Stetson scored the final three on a Prewitt kill, Hawks kill and service ace to beat the Dolphins.

The match opened when Stetson tallied the first point on a Prewitt kill. JU responded with a Strausbaugh kill of its own for an early 1-1 tie. The set was neck-and-neck until Stetson earned three straight to pull away from 11-11 to 11-14. JU came within one at 23-24, but Stetson scored its final point of the set on a Creamer kill.

In set two, JU and Stetson again fought ties up until 10-10 when Stetson recorded five straight on a service ace, three attack errors and a kill to take an 11-15 lead. JU rallied with four straight of its own from 14-18 to 17-18. The Dolphins and Hatters were once again at the 23-24 mark in Stetson’s favor when the Hatters won the second set on a Melville kill.

 JU led as much as 20-10 in the third set. Stetson scored the first point, but JU tallied four consecutive points three times: from 2-2 to 5-2, 9-6 to 12-6 and 15-9 to 18-9. JU won the third set ending with a 25-14 score on a service ace.

The Dolphins took their winning momentum into the fourth set to win 25-21 to force a fifth-set tiebreaker. JU led 16-11 before Stetson ran back with six straight to take a 16-17 lead. The Hatters had three attack errors, two kills and one service ace. The set tied two more times at 17-17 and 18-18 before JU eventually earned its second win.

Jacksonville returns to action next weekend to host its first home A-Sun matches. The Dolphins will face Lipscomb at 7 p.m. on Friday and Northern Kentucky at 4 p.m. on Saturday.