Sand Volleyball Get Spiked, Rebounds

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Photo by Ninoska Nunez

Jacksonville University’s Sand Volleyball team opened their biggest and busiest week of the season by hosting the University of Hawaii Rainbows.

The Dolphins would fall to Hawaii 5-0 on the day, losing all five flights 2-0.

JU (0-2) had a lot of bright spots to build on exiting the match. Junior Nicole Teplitz and sophomore Alyssa Robertson lead the offensive surge for JU. Sophomore Kylie Jacob and freshman Chelsea Sanderson also held their own and fought all the way to the end for the Dolphins. Hawaii just proved to be too much for JU for the moment.

“We faced a very good team today,” said Head Coach Michelle Collier. “I was proud of how much our team has improved over the last two weeks and how we were able to compete at a very high level. It was hard to see improvement in the numbers, but Hawaii is one of our strongest opponents this year. Being able to hang in there with them says something about the way that we’re going.”

JU’s next opponent was the Owls of Florida Atlantic University. In thrilling fashion, JU got its first win of the season and as a program.

After losing the first flight, JU bounced back to tie the match at 1 when Sammie Strausbaugh and Niatha Cullen swept their flight 2-0. JU would, however, fall in the third flight and was one flight away from losing, now trailing 2-1.

Kathryn Kane and Sanderson took to the court and were able to notch a victory, sweeping their opponents 2-0. The match came down to the fifth and final flight. JU’s fate was in the hands of Jenna Orner and Alison Loeppky. Orner and Loeppky went on to sweep their set 2-0, giving JU the 3-2 victory.

“I was proud of how our team competed,” Collier said. “We put together a lot of the things that we have been working on in practice and it showed on our result.”

The next challenge for the Lady Dolphins was the University of North Florida Invitational. JU placed fifth in the tournament and had their top duo finish tied for third. That duo is the pair of Kendall Courtney and Cari Whitmire who also earned all-tournament honors.

“It was great weekend for JU sand volleyball,” Collier said. “Our two top teams had a tremendous tournament for us finishing in the top 10.”

The Dolphins will next take on Stetson University, April 10 in DeLand, Florida.

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