This Week in Atlantic Sun Volleyball: Oct. 18th
North Florida hosts three of the A-Sun's top four teams over the next five days.
North Florida hosts three of the A-Sun's top four teams over the next five days.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

MACON, Ga. – Atlantic Sun Conference volleyball matches comprise 11 of the 12 matches scheduled for the next five days as teams surge into the second half of the 2012 conference season.

Currently four teams are above .500 in conference play and three teams have won at least two straight as the action begins on Friday.

FGCU’s nine-game win streak will be tested three times in the next five days as the Eagles host Mercer and Kennesaw State at Alico Arena on Friday and Saturday, then head to Jacksonville for a road match against North Florida on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Along with FGCU, the Bears and the Owls head to DeLand as the Hatters are still looking to capture their first conference win. The Hatters also head a couple of hours north to face Jacksonville in one of two conference matches on Oct. 23.

Three-time defending champion Lipscomb and A-Sun newcomer Northern Kentucky also hit the road, making their Jacksonville, Fla., swing to face North Florida and Jacksonville on Friday and Saturday.

In the only non-conference action of the week, the Norse also welcome Eastern Kentucky to Regents Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 23.

Riding a four-game streak of its own, ETSU heads to Spartanburg, S.C., for the lone conference match of the week for the Bucs and USC Upstate.

#ASunVB Quick Notes

FGCU is off to its best start in conference play since joining the conference in 2007. The Eagles’ overall 10-game win streak is their longest since the 2008-09 season, when they reeled off 12 straight wins from October 3 to November 7, 2008. Conference wins accounted for 11 of the dozen wins in the streak.

ETSU’s four-game win streak is the longest for the Bucs since the 2010-11 season. During one stretch that season, the Bucs won seven straight, lost to Lipscomb, then reeled off eight more during the month of October.

Jacksonville is third in the A-Sun in blocks and the Dolphins’ Kylie Jacob is second in the conference with 1.30 blocks per set.

Kennesaw State has been strong on the road this season, holding a 6-1 record away from the Convocation Center. Baylee Strachan leads the Owls in hitting pct (.372) and is third in the A-Sun on the category, while Sara Metroka is third in the A-sun in assists (10.83).

Lipscomb looks to extend its five-match road win streak on its Jacksonville, Fla., swing against North Florida and JU this weekend. The Bisons rallied to defeat North Florida 3-2 earlier this season after falling behind 2-0, and topped the Dolphins 3-0, both matches in Allen Arena in Nashville.

Mercer fell 3-2 earlier this season in Macon to red-hot FGCU and defeated Stetson 3-1. Senior Jamie Duffy is riding a nine-match streak of double-digit dig performances. Emily Rochefort is seven digs away from her 600th dig of her career, and she remains in the top-25 nationally in digs per set (21st, 5.43).

North Florida faces three of the top four teams in the conference over the next five days, but they get them at home in UNF Arena. UNF (.388) and Lipscomb (.489) come off impressive hitting performances in their last matches. NKU makes its first trip to UNF Arena as an A-Sun member, bringing the conference’s top hitting percentage as a team and individual in Jenna Ruble (.360).

Northern Kentucky leads all A-Sun teams in hitting pct as a team, along with kills (14.40) and service aces (1.52) and is second in assists (13.20). The Norse went 1-1 last weekend, falling to FGCU 3-1 and sweeping Stetson.

USC Upstate remains in a three-way tie for fifth moving into the second half of the conference season. The Spartans’ Emily Sanders is second in the conference in digs (4.71) and as a team the Spartans lead in conference games in digs (18.41) and service aces (1.50).

Stetson will look to claim its first A-Sun victory of the season as the Hatters host Mercer and Kennesaw State this weekend. The Bears defeated Stetson 3-1 earlier this season in Macon and the Owls also swept the Hatters 3-0 in Kennesaw.

The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, Northern Kentucky University, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.