VOLLEYBALL: Dolphins Host Round Two of River City Rumble

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University’s volleyball team will host Round Two of the River City Rumble in the Historic Swisher Gym on Friday, hoping to even up the season series between JU and North Florida before leaving Jacksonville for a two-week road trip.

“Every time we’re at home it’s such an exciting time for us to play in Swisher Gym,” said Head Coach Julie Darty. “It’s the gym we practice in every week, and it’s really nice getting to sleep in our own beds and play in our own gym. We were on the road all preseason, so going back on the road is nothing new for us. But it’s a bonus when we are at home and get to spend some time in our gym.”

Despite five players (Emily Laskelle, Jizzyan Gesualdo, Mayara Prestes, Kelly Koop, and Cristina Finan) each recording a double-double, a JU record for most double-doubles in a match, the Dolphins couldn’t quite beat FGCU, losing in five sets to the Eagles on Saturday. The loss came after a four-set win over Stetson on Friday in which Laskelle had 24 kills, Gesualdo had 33 assists and 10 digs, and Prestes had 21 digs.

“I think that the JU record is a testament to how hard our team is working, and how hard each player works when they’re on the court," said Darty. “They’re all just trying their hardest to do their jobs and do all they can for our team to have a win. It’s really awesome to set that kind of record considering that Emily had 93 attempts, and other people were still able to step up in ways that I didn’t know about until we got the stats, and that was really cool to see." 

JU traveled to North Florida for the first round of the River City Rumble, which the Ospreys won 3-2. Courtney Miller (17), Carina Hoff (14), and Tessa Alyman (14) each had double-digit kills for UNF, and Abby Fesl (24) and Alyman (27) each had double-digit assists. Miller, Fesl, and Morgan Van Alstine each had two service aces, and four Ospreys had double-digit digs. The Dolphins were led by Laskelle, who had 24 kills, 13 digs, and one service ace. Gesualdo had 42 assists and 16 digs, and Prestes had 27 digs.

Coach Darty’s Analysis: “Obviously this rivalry is a very fun and exciting one,” said Darty. “It’s really cool that it can be such a big deal considering we’re so close to them in Jacksonville. I think it’s an awesome opportunity for us to get a second chance at them in our gym. Last time we went to their place and it was a crazy atmosphere with a lot of energy, and it was a battle in five sets. I’m hopeful we’ll be a little bit healthier this time around.”

Friday’s game is also #PackSwish night. The first 100 Dolphin fans that walk through the door will receive a free neon green fanny pack.

“We are giving away 100 fanny packs to the first 100 JU fans in Swisher as a promo to pack Swisher Gym,” said Darty. “It seems like fanny packs are coming back because everything that is retro is cool and back in style, so it seemed like a great promotion. The fanny packs will be bright neon green and say ‘JU Volleyball’ and ‘Dolphin Strong’”.

The Dolphins, currently 4-3 in conference play, are tied for third in the Atlantic Sun with Kennesaw State, who the Dolphins beat in straight sets in Kennesaw, Ga. earlier in the season. FGCU and Lipscomb are tied for first in the A-Sun with 6-1 records.

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