JMU roundup: Dukes sweep Albany in Carolina Classic

Daily Staff Report – sports@nvdaily.com

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Sophomore outside hitters MacKenzie Kleespies and Meghan Niski combined for 21 kills and 19 digs to lead the James Madison volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep over Albany in the opening game of the Carolina Classic, Friday evening.

JMU won by set scores of 25-9, 25-12, 25-23 to improve to 3-5 on the season. The loss dropped Albany to 0-7 on the year.

Kleespies led the way for the Dukes, finishing with her team-leading fourth double-double of the season. She had a match-high 11 kills and 12 digs, adding an assist and a block. Niski contributed 10 kills on .417 hitting, terminating 10 of her 24 attack attempts without an error. The sophomore chipped in seven digs, two blocks, two service aces and an assist to supply a team-high 13 points. Freshman right side Janey Goodman added seven kills on .357 hitting and three blocks.

Redshirt junior setter Kristi Richardson paced the Dukes to a .305 attack percentage with 29 assists to go with seven digs, four kills, two aces and a block. Junior middle blocker Lizzy Briones led the team with five blocks while sophomore libero Sierra Hahn-Ventrell tied Kleespies with a match-high 12 digs.

The Great Danes were limited to a .028 attack percentage, led by outside hitter Laini Leindecker with eight kills and nine digs. Outside hitter Olivia Schonewise added four kills, but committed 10 attack errors for a -.261 percentage. Middle blocker Amanda Dolan led Albany with three blocks, including two solo rejections while setter Rebecca Rivera had 20 assists and five digs.

The Dukes outhit the Great Danes .305 to .028 and held an 8-3 lead in blocks. JMU terminated 40 kills to 26 for Albany. Madison also led in aces, 4-2, and digs, 45-38.

The Dukes return to action in the Carolina Classic on Saturday as they take on No. 18 North Carolina at noon and George Washington at 5:30 p.m. in Carmichael Arena.