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JMU volleyball celebrates a 3-0 win over Towson on Nov. 6. 

JMU volleyball shined on the court this season. The Dukes finished the regular season 17-7 (11-5 CAA), tying for second in the CAA. 

Contributing to the team’s success this season were personal accomplishments. Junior setter Caroline Dozier racked up 805 assists, surpassing 1,000 in her career. Sophomore outside hitter Miette Veldman and junior middle blocker Sophia Davis combined for 556 kills — 303 and 253, respectively — 51.4% of JMU’s season total. Davis led the team in blocks with 107.

Defensively, five players eclipsed 150 digs, led by senior libero Savannah Marshall’s 324. Freshmen defensive specialists Jaydyn Clemmer and Madilyn O’Toole found homes in the starting lineup this season, each starting 11 matches. O’Toole and Clemmer were second and third, behind Marshall, for the highest number of digs on the team, with 185 and 180, respectively.

Best offensive player | Sophia Davis

Davis dominated at the net, proving to be versatile and invaluable on the court. Davis is a beast when it comes to her kills, often leaving opponents stunned by the strength and power she puts behind the ball. 

It’s clear to see why Davis’ 24 starts led the team this season. She hit a team-high .370 on 540 total attempts, had 13 service aces, tallied one assist, earned a  career-high 35 digs and totaled 332 points — second behind Veldman’s 337.5. Davis’ hitting percentage was the highest in the conference and No. 46 in the NCAA.

Best defensive player | Savannah Marshall

Marshall commandeered the libero jersey this season and led JMU’s defense with 324 digs, finishing her career with 993. She put her body on the line to get under the ball — sometimes with just her fingertip — to keep it in play for the Dukes.

Best line

Head coach Lauren Steinbrecher had a loaded gun with Marshall, Clemmer and O’Toole on the back line together. The three combined for 689 digs, managing the ball and setting the front line up for success.

Dynamic duo | Caroline Dozier and Sophia Davis

Dozier and Davis were in near-perfect sync together in front of the net this season. The two moved from joint blocks to Dozier setting Davis up for a kill while hardly skipping a beat. Dozier earned assists on over 200 of Davis’ kills this season.

Most improved player | Madilyn O’Toole

O’Toole’s skills and performances improved on the court this season. The freshman said transitioning to college play was tougher than she anticipated because the speed of play is much faster. She’s refined her ball control, serving and consistency as a player.

Most underrated player | Rebecca Frye

Senior setter Rebecca Frye is a silent weapon on JMU’s roster. While Dozier has recorded the majority of JMU’s  assists, Frye also has an impressive resume. 

She entered the season red-hot, tallying a career-high 61 assists in the Dukes’ season opener against High Point on Aug. 27. Appearing in just eight matches this season, Frye recorded 74 assists, 10 digs and two service aces. 

Team’s strength | communication

Part of JMU volleyball’s success is because of the abundance of communication between players on the court and sideline. Players like Dozier were constantly offering encouraging words and gestures in between rallies, while freshman middle blocker Annie Smith and sophomore middle blocker Savannah Cockrill played an integral role in cheering and offering encouragement on and off the court.

Such a high level of communication helped the Dukes manage ball control and create dominant plays at the net.

Room for improvement | fighting off deficits

One aspect the Dukes struggled with at times throughout the season was staying competitive when down multiple points in sets. While there were moments JMU did complete impressive comebacks — such as the Aug. 27 match versus High Point in which the Dukes found themselves down 2-0 and came back to win the last three to win  — the team also struggled to execute comebacks, possibly because of the associated mental roadblocks — JMU’s losses at Elon and Hofstra are two examples.

There’s no denying JMU had a successful season on the court. If the Dukes improve consistency in high-pressure deficit situations, they’ll be a major threat and hold their own against the top-ranked teams in the country next fall.

Contact Courtney Ryder at ryderce@dukes.jmu.edu. For more volleyball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.