The Ospreys lost in four sets to the Kennesaw State Owls on Saturday night in the UNF Arena.
Both teams came to play. UNF (10-8 overall, 1-2 ASUN) was looking to recover from a conference loss from the previous night, and the Owls (9-8 overall, 3-0 ASUN) were looking to keep their perfect ASUN record.
The first set was tied six times and there were three lead changes as both teams fought for dominance. The Owls took an early 8-5 lead over UNF.
UNF freshman Gabby O’Connell took a big swing that resulted in a kill, tieing the game at 11. O’Connell served the ball like a missile and earned an ace to extend UNF’s lead to 13-11.
The Ospreys continued to extend its lead with an ace by sophomore Ashley LaBorde to bring the score to 18-12. In an attempt to slow UNF’s momentum, Kennesaw State called a timeout.
UNF scored six straight points to bring the set to 24-17. The Owls answered back by scoring six points of its own, bring the set to 24-23. The Owls committed a hitting error to give UNF the first set 25-23.
The Owls came into the second set with high energy, and jumped out to an early 8-3 lead. North Florida called both of its timeouts early in the set, but that did not slow down the Owls one bit.
The Ospreys tried to substitute players in an effort to add some new energy, but still trailed 6-16. UNF could not convert on many plays and that cost the team the set with a score of 25-16.
Coming out of halftime, both teams seemed refreshed. The first half of the set was tight.
Emotions were high on both sides, but the energy converted to Kennesaw State’s side with a six point run.
UNF called a timeout as it trailed 11-19. Both teams had multiple long rallies that the Ospreys did not win. The Owls won the set 25-18.
Going into the fourth set, Kennesaw State found many holes in UNF’s defense. The Owls jumped out to an early 6-1 lead. The Ospreys called an early timeout in an effort to slow the Owls down before the team let its second conference game in a row get away.
The Ospreys came out of the timeout cold as the Owls continued to extend their lead to 9-1, the largest of the set.
Out of the second timeout, UNF had some added energy, with three straight kills by junior Katarina Raicevic, senior Erin Edwards and freshman Gabby O’Connell to bring the score to 12-8.
The Ospreys continued to chip away at the Owls’ lead until they found themselves within two (16-18). UNF was unable to make long enough stops and lost the fourth and final set 25-18.
Head coach Steve Loeswick spoke on the Ospreys’ play:
“We showed a lot of fight and a lot of character, but some of the long rallies went Kennesaw State’s way,” Loeswick said. “We need to kill more balls and get more offensive production.”
Edwards, a middle blocker, was the only Osprey to have double figures in kills with 10 and had a game high .909 hitting percentage.
O’Connell, an outside hitter, had a team high 14 digs in addition to nine kills.
UNF hopes to bounce back on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. against Bethune Cookman University at the UNF Arena.
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