Dolphins' Late Rally Foiled in Home Opener

Dolphins' Late Rally Foiled in Home Opener

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A trio of players registered double-digit kills as the Jacksonville University volleyball team (1-8) hit above .200 in each of the four sets, but the Dolphins were unable to overcome a two-game deficit to the University of North Dakota (6-6), Tuesday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.

Junior Mallory Mattingly (17 kills, 10 digs) and graduate student Hailey Devlin (11 kills, 10 digs) both posted double-doubles, while fellow graduate student Sara Dyslin added 14 kills in the effort. The trio also all finished the day hitting .239, .320, and .464, respectively.

"It was great to be back in Swisher. We competed hard against a good North Dakota team," stated head coach Evan Muys. "We keep talking about getting one-percent better every day and today was another step in the right direction. With a big weekend coming up, we're excited to get back in the gym, train, and get ready for conference [games] next Tuesday."

The opening set saw the Dolphins within reach, 6-4, but a 5-1 run from the Fighting Hawks kept Jacksonville at bay, 11-5, before a JU timeout. Three of the next four points out of the break were won by the Dolphins, but a second 6-1 run from the visitors put the set just out of reach as UND went on to take a 1-0 lead behind a 25-17 win.

Jacksonville led for much of game two and held a 17-14 advantage through the middle of the set.  UND continued its hot streak with back-to-back 5-1 rallies to steal a 2-0 lead, 25-21.

Battling back from an early deficit, JU used a 4-0 run in the third to tie up the set at 5-5. The Dolphins continued to chip away at North Dakota and rallied with a 5-1 streak with a pair of kills from Devlin and senior setter Lauren Petersen, along with a service ace from junior Morgan Dees, to surge Jacksonville ahead, 18-14. JU never looked back and went on to pull within one, 2-1, on a 25-20 set win.

The Dolphins continued that momentum into the fourth for a 5-2 lead early on before the Fighting Hawks swooped in to take a 14-12 advantage. UND added a 5-0 run down the stretch and despite a 4-0 Dolphin run highlighted by kills from Dyslin, freshman Giao Huynh, and back-to-back aces from Mattingly, UND managed to hold off a late rally from the hosts to take the match, 25-22.

Petersen finished the match just two away from her career high with 46 assists, while junior Natalie Wehner posted a match-high 16 digs. Sophomore Hannah Marchand continued to dominate at the net with three blocks, including one solo, while Mattingly (3 blocks) and Petersen (1 block) also recorded solo blocks for the Dolphins.

North Dakota was led by Kayla Williams' double-double of 12 kills and 12 digs, while Taliyah Flores added a team-high 16 digs.

The Dolphins return to action this weekend when they travel to Gainesville, Florida for the Gator Invitational.