NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Jacksonville advanced to the 2015 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship Semifinal with a 3-1 victory over River City rivals North Florida. The Dolphins will face the top-seeded Lipscomb Bisons on Friday at 5 p.m. CT.
First Team All-Conference selection Emily Laskelle led all players with 19 kills in the match. Defensively, four Dolphins were in double-figures with Defensive Player of the Year, Mayara Prestes, leading the team with 19 digs. Jizzyan Gesualdo ran the offense and dished out 43 assists in the victory. Carina Hoff closed out her season with 17 kills and a .438 hitting percentage for the Ospreys.
In the opening set, the Ospreys built an early lead and never looked back. First Team All-Conference selection Carina Hoff led the squad with four kills and hit .444 for the set. She was helped on the attack by Erin Edwards who had three kills in the first set. The blocking and defense of the Ospreys held Jacksonville's offense in check to win 25-17.
Jacksonville responded in the second set as First Team All-Conference pick Emily Laskelle got the offense rolling. She ended the second set with nine kills as the Dolphins won 25-17. After hitting .068 as a team in the first set, Jacksonville's offense improved to a .364 hitting percentage in set two.
The Dolphins carried that momentum into the third set and opened a lead early. The Ospreys kept the third set tight however as Hoff and Courtney Miller found their rhythm offensively. With the score 20-18 in favor of Jacksonville, the Dolphins went on a run as Laskelle, Kelly Koop and Jessica Armstrong all got kills to push the lead to 24-20. Laskelle's 13th kill of the match gave her team the 25-21 win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
Jacksonville closed out the match in the fourth set as Laskelle and Armstrong finished in double-digit kills. The set was tied 12-12 before the Dolphins began to pull away behind kills from Koop and Christina Finan. Armstrong and Laskelle got the final kills to seal the match with a 25-19 win in the fourth set.
The Dolphins will now face the top-seed, Lipscomb, tomorrow at 5 p.m. CT in the first of two A-Sun Volleyball Championship Semifinals. The Bisons defeated Jacksonville twice during the regular season, but the Dolphins have eliminated Lipscomb in the last two A-Sun Championships.
Jacksonville vs. North Florida Championship Notes:
- Jacksonville's Emily Laskelle reached double-digit kills for the 25th time in 27 matches this season for the Dolphins.
- For the second-straight season Jacksonville eliminated North Florida at the A-Sun Championship. They won by identical 3-1 scores.
- Mayara Prestes, the Defensive Player of the Year, led her team in digs with 19. It marks the 20th time this season she recorded 19 or more digs in a match.
- North Florida's Carina Hoff hit .438 in the match giving her 11 matches this year of hitting .400 or better for the Ospreys.