STATESBORO - Jacksonville recorded a .516 hitting percentage in the first set and used the momentum to defeat Georgia Southern 3-1 (25-13, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23) Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Invitational at Hanner Fieldhouse.
The win gives the Dolphins the tournament title with a 2-1 record. The Eagles suffer their first defeat (2-1).
"We just came out flat," GSU head coach Chad Callihan said. "We didn't come out prepared. It was the most undisciplined and unfocused that we've looked at any point this season. We haven't had a practice or a competition where we didn't come out and play hard. So that was pretty frustrating."
Jacksonville reeled off a 13-2 run midway through the first set to break open a one-point match into a 20-8 lead. The Dolphins had 17 kills and just one error.
"They played well," Callihan said. "They did everything they needed to do. They played a low-error game, which they've pretty much done this entire weekend. We knew that was going to be one of their strengths. They don't make a lot of mistakes. We just didn't match the intensity. They out-blocked us and out-dug us in the first couple of games. Really, that's just a lot of desire and attitude and we were lacking in both areas."
The Eagles took game three and led 21-16 in game four but allowed a 9-2 run to end the match.
"I just don't think we had the right mindset the entire evening," Callihan said. "We started to make some nice plays. It's early in the season so there's a lot of ebb and flow to a game and runs are pretty common at this stage in the season - no lead is really safe. We got ahead, they came back, you saw the same thing there in the fourth game. We were up 21-16 and allowed them to get back in to it. It's early in the season. We'll learn from it and build on it and get better."
JU's Sara Bendorf posted a match-high 18 kills and added 10 digs. Hannah Munneke dished out 54 assists and Shelley Walroth had 25 digs.
GSU freshman Bethany Sanford (Avondale, Ariz.) recorded a team-high 16 kills and Michelle Uzoh added 12 on a .357 attack percentage. Junior Cristin Haines (Palos Heights, Ill.) tallied 20 digs.
The Eagles return to action next weekend when they participate in the Bear Bash hosted by Mercer. The team's first match is Friday at 3 p.m. against Bethune-Cookman.