JU Athletics Weekly Wrap-Up

Womens’ Golf vs UNF

Photo Courtesy of: JU Dolphins Athletics

On Sept. 3, the Jacksonville University women’s golf team played 18 holes against in-town rival the University of North Florida at the Tournament Player’s Championship Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

JU marked up a 3-3 tie against North Florida in the couples tournament and stroked up a 6-5 lead later in the singles.

Teeing off in the morning on the front nine of Dye’s Valley, UNF took a 2-1 lead with the alternate shot style. Wasting no time in getting started on the back nine of the course, the switch to best ball suited JU well, as the Dolphins responded by winning two of the three available points, according to judolphins.com.

Natalie Schmett etched the first point of the afternoon on the board with a 5-3 victory over Emelie Alpe. Schmett was three-under on the front nine and had little trouble securing the victory on the back. Off the tee at the same time, Morgan Matchett was locked into a more difficult battle with Kelly Aylwin, but the JU newcomer won the 13th, 14th, and 16th holes to turn a match that was all even through 12 into a 3-2 success.

Even still, UNF came back to tie the event with a 3-2 win of their own. With everything still up in the air, play would be suspended due to lightning strikes in the area.

The Dolphins are to play in two weeks, competing in the Minnesota Invitational.

Women’s Volleyball vs Charleston Southern

The Dolphin volleyball team improved to 4-0 last Thursday as they went up against Charleston Southern inside the Swisher Gym.

The first home game for the Dolphins tipped of at 7 p.m. with a packed crowd, including some of our other own student athletes.

“It was great seeing a lot of our student-athletes here supporting us in our first home match,” said Michelle Collier, head coach. “In the beginning of the match we said no one was going to outwork us on our home court and I think we played really hard and deserved the win.”

Playing hard was exactly what the Dolphins did, recording a .483 hitting percentage in only 3 sets to win the match.

Key plays that set the pace for much of the night belonged to Kylie Jacob, Emily Laskelle, and Gabriela Roman contributing five kills each. Taylor Nyquist also made an impact finishing with 10 kills.

The Dolphins look continue their good play throughout the weekend matching up against Mississippi Valley State and Florida Atlantic on Sept. 7.

Women’s Soccer vs UGA

Photo Courtesy of: JU Dolphins Athletics

JU women’s soccer team fell to the University of Georgia in a heated overtime battle this past Friday in Athens, Ga.

In 99 minutes the Dolphins had many problems but a point wasn’t one, until the Georgia Bulldogs kicked through the 0-0 tie with an overtime goal, ending the match 1-0.

Though the Bulldogs outshot JU 26-9 on the night, the Dolphins (2-2-0) didn’t go without their chances, according to judolphins.com. A cross from Adriana Rodrigues came in to Sarah Moghadas late in the first half for the best scoring opportunity of the match up to that point, but the shot sailed high and kept the match scoreless at the break.

The Dolphins, though scoreless, were not without spirit and drive as they continued to press harder towards a goal.

“I’m extremely proud of the fight and intensity we played with tonight,” said Brian Copham, head coach. “We matched up with a very good Georgia team and we responded extremely well to playing a team of this caliber. Despite the loss, there are a number of positives that we can take out of tonight. I hope we can take those things and continue to match tonight’s intensity on Sunday and in the weeks ahead.”

JU will try to pick things up as the team visits Georgia State Sept. 8, the last opponent of the weekend.

JU Football vs J’ville State

Photo Courtesy of: JU Dolphins

The Dolphins football team recorded it’s second loss of the season as Jacksonville State ran through JU 48-13 last Saturday at Burgess-Snow Field.

JU allowed their opponent to take a lead in the second quarter, according to judolphins.com. Jacksonville State’s Troymaine Pope scored two touchdowns giving the Gamecocks a 14-7 lead near the end of the first half.

JU kicked in 3 points by Dylan Lynch at half time leaving the score 14-10 but the Dolphins quickly unraveled as the Gamecocks outscored them 24-0 in the third quarter alone.

JSU was not done, that momentum carried on as the Gamecocks scored on their first few possession in the second half to build a 38-10 lead and take advantage of the game. Included in the 17-0 spurt was a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The Dolphins play Morehead State next Saturday at 1 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field.

Volleyball vs Mississippi Valley and FAU

A double header for the Dolphin volleyball team ended in double victories as they beat Mississippi Valley State and Florida Atlantic this past Saturday in the Swisher Gym.

The Jacksonville University volleyball team continued its torrid start to the 2013 season, winning two more matches on Saturday to improve to 6-0 on the season, according to judolphins.com

The first of the two matches started at 10 a.m. against Mississippi Valley as they fell to the Dolphins in a 3-0 series.

Kylie Jacob ended up with a match high 12 kills along with an impressive .625 hitting percentage.

The second match began at 6 p.m. against Florida Atlantic with a closer match series of 3-1 in favor of the Dolphins.

Gabriela Roman was the notable name of the night as she led her team to a comeback victory with an offensive advantage batting in a total of 14 kills.

The Dolphins are set to face three teams this upcoming weekend in the FIU Invitational.

Women’s soccer @ Georgia State

After falling to Georgia the JU women’s soccer team snagged a win at Georgia State last Sunday before returning home to Jacksonville.

Scoring the first and final goal of the game the Dolphins took care of the remainder with quality defense.

“The credit really goes to our defense today,” Copham said.” It was a team effort and everyone played well in that aspect of the game.”

As the half moved along overtime seemed to be a likely possibility for the two teams with the score still 1-0, but with Dolphin Sarah Sierra making saves the outcome would stay in favor for JU.

“We put six backs in at different points and they stayed well-organized and limited Georgia State’s dangerous chances throughout the contest,” Copham said. “Sarah (Sierra) came up with some great saves and dealt with some dangerous crosses as well.”

With a loss and a win in the state of Georgia, the Dolphins look to end their record against Georgia teams on a good note as they face Georgia Southern on Sept. 13.

JU Surges Past Mercer After Tough Loss

Photo by Austin Weaver

The Jacksonville University’ women’s Volleyball team got back on the winning path after a five set victory (17-25, 25-23, 25-20, 18-25, 15-8) over Mercer in the Swisher gym Saturday.

JU (4-16, 2-5), coming off a five set loss to Kennesaw St, got big time efforts from freshman Sammie Strausbaugh and junior Kendall Courtney. Strausbaugh had 14 kills and 19 digs and Courtney had 50 assists and 18 digs.

“We were more consistent this afternoon,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “Today we didn’t let them off the hook with mistakes like we did last night. Everyone had a hand in this win. This is a good type of win for us as we return to the road.”

Mercer (7-10, 3-4) was led by Jamie Duffy who tallied 16 kills. Carolina Carlton and Molly Locke each had 15 and Jennifer Katona had 12.

The Dolphins fell behind 13-4 early and could not muster enough offense to win the first set losing 25-17. In the second and third set, JU was able to begin pulling away little by little as they won 25-23 and 25-20. The Dolphins were down 16-15 in the fourth when the Bears broke out onto a 5-2 run carrying them to the set victory.

In the fifth and final set, Mercer got out to an 8-7 lead off of a service error. JU bounced back with eight unanswered points of their own to seal the set and match victories.

The Dolphins head away from the friendly confines of the Swisher Gym to take on East Tennessee State in Johnson City, Tenn. on Friday. The match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.

JU Volleyball Falls to Rival UNF

By: Daniel Holmes

The Jacksonville University Volleyball team played host to cross-town rival North Florida Friday in a 3-1 loss. The Dolphins (3-14, 1-3) kept each set close but only managed to grab one victory, being outscored 25-22, 26-24 and 25-20 in their three losses.

The Ospreys (9-7, 1-3) were lead by Carolyn Jenkins and Paige Pridgeon who each had 13 kills. Not only did the Ospreys get the victory but they got an early point in the Sun Trust River City Rumble.

JU managed to lead in the first two sets but just could not hold on for victories.

“We didn’t finish tonight,” JU head coach Michelle Collier said. “I thought we played well at times but had a hard time closing out sets. Overall, we enjoyed being at home in front of our crowd and look forward to another tough conference match Tuesday.”

By: Daniel Holmes

The Dolphins were paced by Sammie Strausbaugh, Gabriela Roman and Kendall Courtney. Strausbaugh had 13 kills while Roman added 10 more. Roman and Courtney also had 15 digs each.

JU watched a 20-17 lead disappear with the help of three straight errors in the first set. In the second set, four consecutive UNF errors helped JU build a 22-17 lead but sloppy play yet again led to a UNF set win.

The Dolphins have a busy week ahead of them, hosting three matches at the Swisher Gymnasium. They will look to build some momentum behind the home crowd and try and turn their season around.

Volleyball Salvages One Win in Active Ankle Challenge

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Holmes

The Jacksonville University Dolphin’s Volleyball team (0-7) headed to Gainesville Friday and Saturday for the Active Ankle Challenge. They opened with a match against the 15th ranked Florida Gators (4-2).

Despite a strong start, JU couldn’t keep the momentum and fell 3-0 to UF. JU hit .206 in the first set but UF hit better than .400 in the final two sets behind their home crowd.

“We faced a very strong opponent tonight,” JU Head Coach Michelle Collier said. “I was proud of the way our team came out and competed in the first set. In the next two sets we let our energy level drop and lost our focus. It was good to see how well we competed at the start and we will continue to work hard to find our consistency.”

The Dolphins were led by Sammie Strausbaugh with seven kills.

JU’s next match was against Georgia Tech (7-1) Saturday morning. The Dolphins were swept in straight sets 17-25, 16-25, 16-25.

“This was another tough loss for us,” said Collier.

Again the Dolphins started out well and faded as the match continued. This is something that has plagued JU for most of the season.

JU wound up the tournament against Louisiana-Lafayette (4-6). The Dolphins switched rolls as this match went on and gained speed set by set.
The Dolphins fell behind 0-2, losing 14-25 and 22-25. JU then snuck out a 25-23 victory in the third set and took that momentum to the fourth where they won 26-24.

In the fifth and final set, JU broke out to an 11-6 lead. The Cajuns then came back to tie the set at 11, setting up for a tight finish. In the end JU worked their way to a 16-14 win and came all the way back for a 3-2 match for their first win of the season.

The Dolphins were paced by Gabriela Roman, Taylor Nyquist and Nicole Teplitz. Roman recorded 20 kills and 10 digs during the match. Nyquist had eight kills and 11 digs and Teplitz lead the team with 15 digs.

JU’s next challenge comes at the hands of Savannah State and South Alabama Friday in the Spring Hill Suites Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.

Sand Volleyball Get Spiked, Rebounds

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.

Sand Volleyball

Photo by Ninoska Nunez

The Jacksonville University Women’s Sand Volleyball team took to the court March 9 for their inaugural match against the University of North Florida.

Back in the spring of 2011, JU approved Sand Volleyball as a varsity sport. Later that year, they were added to the Atlantic Sun Conference for the upcoming season.

Friday, all the hard work came full circle as the sand volleyball team made their debut. Through much fight and effort, the girls fell to UNF 4-1. They entered the final match of the day needing a win to stay alive, but came up just shy.

The teams split into 5 pairs for 5 flights. Each flight was a best of 3 format. Among those to compete were Kylie Jacob, Alyssa Robertson, Nicole Teplitz, and Niatha Cullen. Teplitz and Cullen secured the lone victory for JU on the day.

“I was proud of our team today,” said JU Head Coach Michelle Collier. “We have had very little practice in the sand and we competed really well against a team that has been practicing a couple weeks longer then us. This is going to be a great sport for JU and our team is ready to put in the work to get better and develop as sand volleyball players.”

As of August 2011, women’s sand volleyball was recognized by NCAA Division 1 as an emerging sport. JU’s roster is compromised of the members of their indoor volleyball team.

“I wanted to thank Athletic Director Alan Verlander and our support staff for working hard to make it a great facility for our girls to play in,” said Collier. “I also want to thank our fans for coming out and creating an awesome atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the future of our program.”

The girls will next play March 27 vs Hawaii starting at 10a.m. followed by a match vs Florida Atlantic University on March 29 at 1 p.m. Both matches will be held at the Dolphin Beach Volleyball Complex located near the Wurn Pool.

Michelle Collier New Head Volleyball Coach

Photo courtesy of JU Athletics

The JU Athletics department announced Monday that former University of South Florida assistant coach Michelle Collier has been named the new head coach of the volleyball team.

Collier is the eighth coach for the Dolphins volleyball team and is heading over to JU after serving two seasons as assistant coach in South Carolina.

Director of Athletics Alan Verlander was quoted saying, “I’m thrilled to welcome Michelle to the JU family. She and her family will be a wonderful addition to JU Athletics. Her credentials and contacts in the sport of volleyball will enable her to be very successful at JU. I look forward to seeing her teams graduate and compete for championships in the near future. I’m excited about the new era of JU volleyball.”

Collier graduated in 2002 from the University of South Florida, where she was also an assistant coach. Her 2,279 career kills placed her fifth in the NCAA Division I, and she was named the Conference USA Player of the Decade in 2004. Following her graduation, her professional career took her across the globe, playing in Holland, Puerto Rico, Cyprus, Indonesia and Spain over a four-year career, winning numerous accolades including the Indonesian League MVP and the Best Foreign Player in Cyprus. She also claimed the C-USA Freshman of the Year plaque in 1998 and led her school to three of the program’s seven NCAA Tournament appearances. She joined the USF Hall of Fame in its third class, which was announced in 2011. She was the first Bulls volleyball player to earn that honor.

Collier said she is looking forward to meeting with the girls and getting them fired up and ready.

“I am super excited and want to thank Alan and Marsha (Haskew, Senior Women’s Administrator), President (Kerry) Romesburg for the opportunity to start my head coaching career at JU,” Collier said. “It’s been great, and it was a great experience I had here (during the interview process). I am looking forward to working with a great group of girls, turning this program around, and winning some championships.”

Collier is fluent in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and is married to Rafael Silva, who spent the last nine years as a professional volleyball player in the top divisions of both Brazil and Spain. They have one daughter together, Tais Collier Silva.

Senior Night Victory Precedes Loss to FGCU

Photo by Brett Durda

Senior Night was the setting this Friday night when the JU women’s volleyball team squared off against Stetson University. Senior Night is always full of built up emotions and passion, and that night JU had no problem unleashing those feelings on the Hatters.

“Senior Night was terrifying,” senior Ashley August said. “I didn’t want it to happen simply because I didn’t want it to be over.”

The Lady Fins jumped out fast in the first set to a 10-4 advantage and didn’t look back. Thanks to strong play in that set by seniors Alliya Drzewiecki and Kathryn Kane, JU was able to take the first set (25-20).

In the second set the two teams actually battled each other pretty close early on. The Dolphins took the lead 11-7, and then Stetson brought it an 11-10 deficit. JU had enough, and went on a 7-2 run, riding the strong play of Drzewiecki who iced the set on back to back kills (25-18).

In the third and potentially final set, the Lady Fins wanted to leave no doubt. They attacked Stetson early, fighting to a 9-1 advantage, but the Hatters showed life when they closed the margin to 15-13 deficit. JU once again turned on the jets and finished strong, as the senior Kane secured the match with a kill (25-22).

“The last game definitely snuck up on me,” Kane said. “I’ve been so used to doing other peoples senior night that it was weird for me to be the senior, it still hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t be back next year.”

The victory over Stetson kept hope alive, but a loss to FGCU (3-2) the following night ended the ladies season abruptly.

JU, with three seniors, Kathryn Kane, Alliya Drzewiecki, and Ashley August playing in thier last games as Fins, showed fight all season. They finished seventh in the A-sun with a (14-17, 5-8) record. JU volleyball will be back in action for its indoor spring season and their inaugural sand volleyball season in March. JU will also host the A-Sun Sand Volleyball Championships in its first year.

Volleyball Weekend Roller Coaster

Photo by Grace Singer

The women’s volleyball team rode upon the tracks of an unsteady, athletic roller coaster this past weekend. For three straight days from Oct. 21-23, they confronted their competitors, experiencing a different result each day.

The Lady Fins stepped aboard this wild ride on Friday Oct. 21 when they faced cross-town and conference rival, University of North Florida. JU started out on fire against UNF. From early on in the match, they struck as efficient and aggressive.

The Fins jumped out on the Ospreys by winning the first two sets by a score of 25-23 in each set.

Even though both sets were close as the teams battled, JU was in control and in the driver’s seat to close out this match.

In the potential final set, UNF and JU went back and forth, tying twice at nine apiece and fifteen all. The Ospreys then separated themselves with a 10-1 run, closing the third set with a 16-25 victory.

In the fourth set things nudged even closer thanks to JU seniors Alliya Drzewiecki and Kathryn Kane. JU fell behind early, but those ladies were able to swim back to a 22-21 deficit. This effort fell short in the closing moments, losing the set to UNF (22-25).

In the final set, which would decide the outcome between these rivals, both teams rallied back and forth and went on mini runs. They finally knotted up at 14 all, then exchanging match-point opportunities multiple times. UNF finally climbed the hill though, with back-to-back kills to put them past JU 19-21 in the fifth and final set to win 3-2 overall.

Back at home, JU tried to bounce back from the tough loss the next day against Bethune Cookman.

Seniors Kane and Drzewiecki stole the show once again with 13 and 11 kills respectively. The major difference being that their effort this match was enough to lead JU to a victory over BCU (3-1) in a notably one-sided match.

The following day on Oct. 23, JU was involved in another battle against Florida A&M that did not bring much success. The Lady Fins lost the first two sets 25-27 and 18-25, but the ladies showed off their fighting spirit and their strong conditioning as they battled back.

JU was able to take the next two sets in commanding fashion, winning by a score of 25-18 in the third and fourth sets. The athletic roller coaster came to a screeching halt in the fifth and final set as JU fought hard, the scoreboard resembling a seesaw until they eventually fell short with a final score of 13-15, losing the overall match against FAMU 3-2.

“We just fell a little short. We dug ourselves a huge hole but did a good job of battling back,” said JU Head Coach Shaun Kupferberg.

The Dolphins plan to right their wrongs on their next road trip, this time to Macon, Georgia this Saturday Oct. 29 to compete against Mercer University.

Volleyball Tanks VS Tennessee

Photo by Grace Singer

The Lady Fins played host to two Atlantic Sun Conference opponents this past weekend. Both volleyball teams hailed from the state of Tennessee in Belmont University and Lipscomb University. On Friday, Oct. 14 Lipscomb came to town and faced off against JU at Swisher Gymnasium. The Lady Bisons, number one in the conference, spent little time jumping out on the Dolphins.

In the first set JU was up 11-9, and then the Lady Bisons went on a tear. After going up 14-12, the set ended on an 11-1 run to clinch the first set at 13-25.

In the second set JU remained close early when they were down 9-6. Then Lipscomb began separating themselves once again after Lady Bison Lauren Ford contributed three straight kills. They went up 14-6 and didn’t look back; LU took the second set from the Dolphins 15-25.

The third set did not bode well for the Lady Fins either. The closest it was in this set is when the two teams knotted at 11-apiece.  However, this glimmer of hope washed away quickly as the Dolphins went on a 11-1 run to ice the set and match to win 3-0.

“This wasn’t our night. All we can do is regroup and get back after it tomorrow,” said JU Head Coach Shaun Kupferberg.

The Dolphins aimed to do just that when they were right back on the court against Belmont the next day, October 15. Belmont, number two in the A-Sun, spent little time adjusting to road play as they jumped out on JU taking the first two sets (19-25, 17-25).

With JU’s back up against the ropes in the deciding set, they fought hard. Senior Alliya Drzewiecki, who had three early service aces, led this surge. This allowed the Lady Fins to jump out 8-1. That was just the spark they needed because they were able to hold off some runs by the Bruins and took set number three 25-22.

The fire that JU caught in the third set though was quickly extinguished in the fourth. Belmont went up fast 17-6 and refused to look back, earning the win 13-25 and a 3-1 victory over JU.

The Women’s Volleyball team had a very rough weekend overall against the Volunteer State but hope to bounce back this Friday. The Lady Fins plan to spike crosstown rival UNF in the first installment of the annual SunTrust River City Rumble.

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