JMU volleyball hosted the College of Charleston on Friday in the first meeting between the two teams since the Dukes beat the Cougars in last year’s CAA Championship match. JMU, which entered the match 6-0 in CAA play, showed the conference title was no fluke, beating Charleston in four sets, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21.
Junior outside hitter Briley Brind’Amour led the team with 19 kills, senior outside hitter Bryn Recker had 16 and both junior M’Kaela White and redshirt junior Kelly Vahos finished with 14. Head coach Lauren Steinbrecher expected a tough competitive match with the Cougars, understanding just how talented both teams were because of her experience coaching in the CAA.
“They’re a very good Charleston team,” Steinbrecher said. “So, to be honest, our expectations were that it was going to be a battle, we knew we had to bring our best.”
Recker also looked at the Charleston match as a key match for the team’s confidence. The Dukes had a six-match winning streak heading into Friday’s contest
“Charleston is a big team, you always love playing them, it’s always very competitive,” Recker said. “Every team in the CAA can beat anyone on any given day.”
The first two sets had JMU getting out to great starts and maintaining a multiple-point lead. The Dukes won each of the first two sets by six points. However, both teams played close sets in the second half of the match. The Cougars won the third set by stringing together a six-point run in the middle of the set. The Dukes fought back to make things close but the Cougars prevailed to win 25-21.
White saw adjustments that they needed to make heading into the fourth set. Those adjustments proved to be successful as the Dukes came back to win 25-21.
“[We needed to] fix our mistakes faster, as they went on to have a six-point lead there in the third set,” White said. “Let’s get the momentum that we can get and keep moving to the next point.”
JMU also had strong games from junior setter Sarah Martin, and junior libero Sarah Driscoll. Martin helped the team to a .308 hitting percentage in the match, while Driscoll was flying to the ball on defense with 28 digs.
“We always try to be balanced, and then feed off who’s hot and who’s doing really well, but it’s a fun night when all your attackers are hot and there’s a lot of confidence to feed on,” Steinbrecher said.
The Cougars were paced by senior outside hitter Devon Rachel’s 17 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore libero Logan Manusky led the Cougars in digs with 14. The Cougars received a yellow card in the fourth set, but it wasn’t clear as to why it was awarded.
With the win, JMU moves to 15-3 overall (7-0 CAA), extending its streak to seven straight wins. The College of Charleston falls to 13-8 overall (4-3 CAA). The Dukes will host UNCW on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Contact Brandon Ellis email@example.com. For more volleyball coverage, follow the sports desk on Twitter @TheBreezeSports.