Nashville, Tenn. - In its sixth consecutive visit to the ASUN Volleyball Conference Championship, No. 3 FGCU took the decision from No. 6 Jacksonville in four frames on Thursday. The Eagles have beaten the Dolphins three times this season and has held JU to just a single set win on the year.
The first period was a close affair with both teams holding and losing multiple leads. Jacksonville's Mallory Mattingly was the difference maker for Jacksonville in the opener, scoring five kills and digging up eight balls. While Jacksonville would outhit the Eagles squad .191 to .119 they also gave away five points from the service line. Amanda Carroll registered four kills for FGCU over the course of the set and the Eagles took the set, 25-23.
Jacksonville looked like a brand new team come the second set and earned six of the opening nine points of the frame. Five kills from junior Olga Nushtayeva put the Dolphins up by a score of 15-7. The Eagles seemed stunned by the onslaught but fought back to come within three points of the number six seed. Carroll scored nine kills over just 20 swings in the second to bring her average up from .231 to .273, but the early Jacksonville lead was too much for the Eagles to surmount as they fell 25-21.
FGCU held the Dolphins to just eight kills in the third set, digging up 23 of Jacksonville's 36 attacks. Sophomore Karissa Rhoades had six of those digs, as the recent hitter turned libero recorded a match-high of 24. The Eagles scored 18 kills on 45 attacks over the period, keeping JU's leading scorer Mallory Mattingly to just two kills and winning the game 25-16.
FGCU's Carroll added another seven kills in set four while recently named ASUN Setter of the Year Maggie Rick registered 14 assists. FGCU looked the better squad from start to finish of the term and never trailed, claiming victory by the same margin as the third, 25-16.
With FGCU's match victory, the Eagles now look ahead to No. 2 Kennesaw State. The two squads will meet at 7:30 PM CT on Friday, and will be broadcast on ESPN3.
No. 3 FGCU vs. No. 6 Jacksonville First Round Notes
- Amanda Carroll's 27 kills and 13 assists give the sophomore her 11th double-double of the 2016 season and the 25th of her career.
- FGCU's 81 digs against Jacksonville are a season-high and the most the team has recorded since Halloween of last year.
- Maggie Rick assisted on 45 of the Eagles' kills. She's had nine 40-plus performances this season alone.
- Middle Olga Nushtayeva scored 12 kills for Jacksonville tonight, and her .524 hitting percentage led her team.