LARAMIE, Wyo. – Sophomore Amarrah Cooks was named to the all-tournament team as Jacksonville University volleyball closed out its trip west, falling 3-1 to Wyoming and 3-0 to Eastern Michigan, Saturday at the UniWyo Sports Complex.
Cooks finished the tournament with 14 kills, including five each against Wyoming and Eastern Michigan.
"It's not the result we wanted for the weekend coming out west, but I do hope that it provided a learning opportunity for us. We understand we have a lot of work to do and we are hungry to get better," said Head Coach Julie Darty.
"There wasn't enough consistent team play today and that was tough to overcome. We can't win as individuals, so we are going to go home and get better at being a team. We will find the consistency we need; we just need to rep it out and get back to being consistent."
Jacksonville kicked things off early with a 3-0 lead, and the Cowgirls (3-2) chose to challenge a call on JU's third point. The officials determined that no Dolphin touched a Wyoming attack that went long and the call stood. Forced to play catch up, Wyoming rallied and took four of five points to take a 14-11 lead. The Dolphins came out of a timeout and battled back with a 7-2 run to leap ahead, 18-16, forcing the Cowgirls to call their own timeout in hopes of stopping JU's rally. Both teams traded points as the Dolphins held a slim 21-20 lead, but Cooks and senior Olga Nushatayeva teamed up for a block, while Nushtayeva and senior Jessica Armstrong added kills to give JU a 25-23 victory in set one.
Down 9-5, Jacksonville forced Wyoming to hit miscued balls and tied the set at 11. Sophomore Mallory Mattingly added back-to-back blocks with a solo stop followed by an assisted block with freshman Hannah Marchand to lift the Dolphins ahead, 16-14. Wyoming then stole the lead after a six-point run, 20-16, but the Dolphins answered back with their own 7-1 rally to hold a 23-22 advantage. However, two errors capped by a Cowgirl service ace allowed the hosts to even the match, 25-23.
Seven ties in the score early in the set highlighted the back-and-forth aggressive play from both teams. Facing a two-point deficit, 15-13, Jacksonville took off on a 6-0 run to hold a 19-15 advantage. The Cowgirls answered back with five straight points to regain the lead, 20-19, and fought off two more points from JU to take the third set, 25-22.
Down two, 6-3, Jacksonville won a challenge on a no-touch call on a Cowgirl attack that again went long as JU cut its deficit to two, 6-4. A three-point rally started by a kill from Armstrong, followed by back-to-back kills from senior Cristina Finan tied the set at 7, but a 15-3 run from Wyoming put the hosts up, 21-11. Facing an uphill battle, Jacksonville added two more points, before Wyoming put the set away, 25-13 to take a 3-1 match win.
Finan led the Dolphins with a double-double behind 12 kills and 10 digs, along with a solo block, while Mattingly added a team-high 14 kills and four blocks. Junior Lauren Petersen (19) and sophomore Alleah Stamatis (15) combined for 34 of the Dolphins' 41 assists, and Swan added 15 digs. Nushtayeva and Marchand posted three blocks each for the Dolphins' effort.
Emily Lewis led Wyoming with 15 kills and nine digs, while Tara Traphagan (13 kills, nine blocks) and Laurel Place (eight kills, 10 blocks) neared double-double range for the Cowgirls.
vs. Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan opened the game with a 7-2 lead and the Dolphins struggled to find their footing. JU called a timeout down 14-7, but the Eagles (3-4) scored five of the next six points to put the game out of reach. Jacksonville closed out the set on a 7-3 run, but couldn't hold the Eagles at set point as Eastern Michigan took the first game, 25-17.
The Dolphins opened the second set with four-straight points before the Eagles could answer back. Kills from Nushtayeva and Armstrong gave JU a three-point lead, 8-5, but Eastern Michigan came back to tie the set at 8, 9, and 10 before marching ahead, 13-10, thanks to a 7-2 run. Down 18-13, Jacksonville called for a timeout, and took four of the next seven points to cut their deficit to 21-17 and force the Eagles to take their own timeout. Eastern Michigan then took four of the next five points to seal set two, 25-18.
Jacksonville opened the third with a 5-2 lead as the Eagles called for a timeout early. However, Eastern Michigan was able to tie the set at four separate points before stealing a 16-12 lead. The Dolphins received points from Marchand, Cooks, Finan, including Marchand and Finan connecting on a block, and tied the set at 19. The Dolphins fought to even the set, but the Eagles managed to stay just ahead and take a 25-22 win for a 3-1 match victory.
Mattingly led the Dolphins with 10 kills and seven digs, while Finan had five kills and a team-high 13 digs. Stamatis added 22 assists.
For the Eagles, Kelly Furguson led all players with 12 kills and Mallory Rajewski posted a double-double behind 19 assists and 14 digs.
The Dolphins return to action next weekend, Sept. 8 and 9, when they hit the road for the ISTAP Collegiate Cup Invitational, hosted by Alabama State.