JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior Jelena Simic racked up a game-high 25 kills and hit .300 as the Eagles dropped their second consecutive A-Sun Conference game by losing to Jacksonville 3-2 (25-18, 25-20, 23-25, 19-25, 15-8) Friday evening at Swisher Gymnasium.
JU (7-5, 3-2 A-Sun), which has won four consecutive matches, won its first five-set contest since Oct. 26, 2006. The Dolphins finished with a match-high 10 blocks and a .303 hitting percentage.
FGCU (6-7, 5-2 A-Sun) dropped its second straight conference match, and its second straight to JU, after hitting a match-low .150, including a .071 effort (5-3-28) in the final set.
Simic (Lazarevac, Serbia) led the Eagles with a match-high 25 kills and 10 digs while hitting .300 (25-7-60). Chandra Lefever (Fort Morgan, Col.) added a double-double with 46 assists and 10 digs while Jacqueline Cowden (Danville, Calif.) chipped in with 10 kills. Holly Youngquist (Estero, Fla.) racked up 16 digs and Ashley Yance (Fort Myers, Fla.) picked up three blocks to lead the FGCU defense.
In the first set, JU jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a block assist before increasing the margin to 10-2. Both team would trade points for a long period of time until the Dolphins took a 22-13 advantage on another block assist. The Eagles would cut the margin to 24-18 after an attack error by JU but the Dolphins would take a 1-0 lead in the match after a kill by Aidan Yeager.
In the second set, both teams would battle through 10 ties until JU used a 3-0 run to open up a 16-13 advantage on a kill by Brooke Singleton. After a kill by Cowden, the Dolphins used a 3-0 run, capped by a kill by Singleton, to make it 19-14. JU increased the margin to 22-16 after an attack error by Brittney Muse (Arcadia, Fla.) and both teams would trade points until a kill by Yeager gave the Dolphins a 2-0 lead into the break.
In the third set, FGCU jumped out to a 4-2 lead on a kill by Cowden and then increased the margin to 10-5 with an ace by Lefever. After an attack error by the Dolphins made the deficit 12-6, a ball handling error by JU increased the lead to 14-7. FGCU made it 17-9 after consecutive kills by Simic but the Dolphins would cut the margin to 20-16 after an attack error by Simic. JU would use a 6-2 run to even the contest, 22-22, but the Eagles got consecutive errors by JU to make it 24-22. After a JU kill, FGCU cut the deficit to 2-1 with a kill by Cowden.
In the fourth frame, both teams battled through four ties until FGCU used a 2-0 run to take an 8-6 lead on a kill by Simic. Both team would trade points until the Eagles went on a 3-0 run, capped by a ball handling error by the Dolphins, to increase the lead to 13-9. FGCU increased the margin to 17-11 after an attack error by JU but the Dolphins would use a 7-3 run to cut the deficit to 20-18 after an attack error by Lindsey Childs (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). FGCU would answer with a 5-1 run to even the match and force a final set.
In the deciding game, both teams went through three ties until JU used a 2-0 run to open up a 5-3 lead with a kill by Singleton. Both teams would trade points until the Dolphins got a service error by Youngquist and a kill by Yeager to make it 8-5. After a block assist by Childs and Yance cut the deficit to 8-6, JU opened the flood gates with a 6-0 run to make it 14-6. FGCU answered with a kill by Childs and block assist by Yance and Laurel England (Rochester, N.Y.) but JU got a kill by Brittany Lehman to end the match.
FGCU will continue A-Sun action at the UNF Arena as they take on North Florida on Saturday at 3 p.m. The contest can be seen live on ASun.TV.