HARRISONBURG, Va. - Sophomore middle blocker Lizzy Briones (Siloam Springs, Ark./Siloam Springs) posted 10 kills and four blocks to help lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep (25-19, 25-18, 25-23) of defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Delaware in Sinclair Gymnasium, Oct. 12. With the victory, the Dukes improve to 10-9 overall and 3-2 in CAA action, while the Blue Hens fell to 8-12 and 3-2 in league action.
Briones hit .350 on the night (10-3-20) along with her one solo block and three block assists, while redshirt-senior Natalie Abel (Washington, Pa./Trinity) had a match-high 11 kills on .333 hitting percentage (11-3-24). Freshman Sarah Patterson (Roanoke, Va./Hidden Valley) led JMU with 19 set assists while senior Megan Wiechmann (Sunland, Calif./Village Christian) had 18. Junior Katie Daorai (Tampa, Fla./Plant) had a match-high 16 digs to move past the 1,000-dig mark in her JMU career, finishing the match with 1,012.
The Dukes outhit Delaware .250 to .128, including a stellar .361 in the second set. Madison also took advantage of a 7-2 advantage in service aces and 7.5-6.0 margin in blocks.
JMU took charge by winning the first two sets, putting together a 8-3 run after leading 14-13 in the first set to take control and trailed 5-4 before an 8-1 surge put the Dukes ahead for good in the second, with UD never getting closer than four the remainder of the way.
The final set turned out to be a tight one, as the two teams changed leads twice but were tied six times. With the set tied at nine, JMU ran off the next five points and finished with a 10-3 run on a kill by freshman Meghan Niski (St. Charles, Ill//St. Charles East) to take a substantial 19-12 lead. However, Delaware rallied on a 11-4 run to close within one at 23-22 on an attack error by Abel. Logan Sebastian went back to serve for the Blue Hens and her serve hit the top of the tape, stopped there and fell back on UD's side for a point to make it 24-22 for Madison. After a JMU service error pulled it back within a point, senior Danielle Erb (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and freshman MacKenzie Kleespies (Lincoln University, Pa./Avon Grove) went up with a big block to stop Alissa Alker, earning the final point and the match.
JMU will be back on the court quickly on Sunday, Oct. 14, hosting Towson at Sinclair Gymnasium at 1 p.m.