JMU volleyball defeated Delaware in three sets, 25-15, 25-19, 25-23 on Sunday. The Dukes stretch their win streak to three.
JMU was dominant from the very beginning. The Dukes stole the lead from the first moment and held onto it for the remainder of the set. The Blue Hens trailed by as many as 10 points at the end of the first set.
The Dukes were simply running a more efficient offense than their opposition. At the end of the first set, JMU had three times as many kills as Delaware —18 to six — on only 10 more attempts. Things were clicking for the Dukes as they headed into the second set.
Once again, the Dukes started off imposing their will on the Blue Hens. Delaware was left scrambling, searching for opportunities to go on small runs when possible. Senior setter Tilbe Yaglioglu recorded an ace at one point, while junior setter Sarah Martin scored four kills to keep the Blue Hens honest while creating opportunities for JMU’s outside hitters to score. Near the end of the set, JMU was up by 12 points, 22-10.
However, as they approached the set point, the Blue Hens launched a comeback. Delaware strung together an incredible run to score six unanswered points and force head coach Lauren Steinbrecher to call timeout.
“We have a motto — ‘not two’ — and obviously we were way past two [points],” junior defensive specialist/libero Sarah Driscoll said. “All I wanted us to do was get a pass, a good set and then get a kill … We were all very flustered too, so we were trying to calm down and breathe. We were thinking, ‘We just need one point.’”
When play resumed, Delaware scored again. JMU would respond quickly with junior outside hitter Briley Brind’Amour rocketing a kill off an opposing player’s head to secure the second set, 25-19.
“I definitely like going after it, and my team supports that,” Brind’Amour said. “I know I got people behind me covering in case I get blocked, so I got the confidence to go up there and swing.”
The third set was the most competitive of the match. The Blue Hens clicked as a team both offensively and defensively, and they even managed to grab the first point of the set. Once again, the Dukes would lead throughout most of the set except for a brief tie late.
Brind’Amour once again hit the winning point. While the team lost hold of its momentum at some points in the match, the Dukes played disciplined volleyball and made off with a decisive victory. JMU’s ability to neutralize the Blue Hens’ offense for large portions of the match made it clear that the Dukes were executing their game plan.
“I think [the team] did a good job,” Steinbrecher said. “I think we lost a little bit of execution on our side of the net that last set, and they made some incredible plays as well, but I thought overall we did a good job.”
The team will look to keep its win streak intact against Towson on Saturday. The match will take place in the Sinclair Gymnasium at 7 p.m.
Contact Michael Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more volleyball coverage, follow the Breeze on twitter @theBreezeSports.