The Jacksonville State volleyball team came out of the Ole Miss Magnolia Invitational with wins and a second place finish to their name after only one loss to an undefeated Ole Miss team.
The opening match was a nail-biter against in-state foe UAB. While JSU came out strong early and defeated the Blazers in the first two sets, they lost in the third. However, it didn’t take their momentum away and JSU walked away with the match win after a tight final set.
The Gamecocks had a .216 attack percentage on the day with .407 percentage that came in set two alone. Allyson Zuhlke led the Gamecocks with 15 kills and a .300 attack percentage by herself. Charis Ludtke was behind Zuhlke with 11 kills and Nicole Merget had 10. On defense Samantha Bohne led with her 12 digs and Jennifer Hart picked up 11.
The final scores for the match favored JSU 25-21, 25-19, 22-25, and 25-23.
The Gamecocks were in for a rough ride when faced with SEC opponent Ole Miss who is currently undefeated in play. Despite a win in the first set, it didn’t take long for the Rebels to bounce back and defeat the Gamecocks in the last three sets of the match.
Despite an attack percentage of only .188, several Gamecocks made their mark against the unbeaten Rebels. Emily Rutherford was one who made her mark as she had double numbers in both offense and defense. She hit 13 kills and 15 digs. Bohne had the lead on digs with 19, while Merget had the team-high 14 kills. Jennifer Hart also had 48 assists, which was second only to Ole Miss’ Aubrey Edie who had 61.
The final scores for the loss to the Rebels were 28-26, 23-25, 21-25, and 17-25.
The last match of the Magnolia Invitational was a familiar one for the Gamecocks as they again played and defeated the Mercer Bears. There would be no sweep this time as Mercer managed to pull out one lone victory against the Gamecocks in the first set. The Gamecocks were forced into extra points with the Bears in 3 out of 4 sets. The lone exception was the second set, which the Gamecocks won by the largest margin of any of the sets against Mercer.
The two teams were well matched as their final attack percentages were separated by a small amount. JSU had .153 and Mercer had .152. Rutherford again put up doubles in both offense and defense with 16 kills and 14 digs. Merget had 14 kills and Bohne led the team with 18 digs. Behind Bohne in digs was Hart with 15 and Hannah Kirk with 14. Hart led both teams in assists with 38.
The final scores in the JSU win over Mercer were 24-26, 25-18, 26-24, and 28-26.
The Gamecocks will get ready to enter into the next stretch of their schedule. They will take part in the Auburn War Eagle Invitational that starts Friday. They begin against Northwestern State on Friday. They will take on host Auburn and finish with Florida A&M on Saturday.