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Volleyball sweeps day one of UNF Invite after a five-set thriller

The University of North Florida volleyball team returned to UNF Arena on Friday to face two teams in the North Florida Invitational, with both games resulting in wins for the Ospreys. North Florida took the morning game against winless Texas Southern University by way of a sweep, and defeated the University of Louisiana in a five-set thriller to finish off the night.

The Ospreys hit a season-high .413 against Texas Southern to sweep the first match of the day. North Florida won all three sets against the Aggies by eight points or more with set two being by double digits. 

In the first set, the Ospreys hit a set-high .462 on their attacks. The one-sided second set was fueled by an Ospreys 9-0 run to break an early 4-4 tie. During the third set, North Florida won 25-17 to secure the home opener win. 

For the nightcap against Louisiana-Lafayette, the Ospreys took an early 10-3 lead in set one and didn’t look back. North Florida took set one by the score of 25-18 and continued to execute early on. 

Set two against the Ragin’ Cajuns seemed to be almost identical to set one. After a 13-13 tie with both teams exchanging points, the Ospreys scored 12 of the next 19 points to take a commanding two- set to zero lead. North Florida was now one set from being perfect on the day. 

But the Ragin’ Cajuns said not so fast. Following a 20-20 tie late in the set, Louisiana finished on a 5-1 run to take set three, therefore staying alive in the match. 

The fourth set was similar as it was tied late and Louisiana pulled away to push this match to a winner-take-all fifth set tiebreaker. 

The decisive set didn’t start off well for the Ospreys as Louisiana took an early 7-3 lead. But North Florida went on a 12-5 run to win the final set 15-12, which gave the Ospreys their second win of the day.

Despite being down 7-3 in the tiebreaker and losing the third and fourth sets, the Ospreys were able to rally back and leave with a win. (Rachel Bacchus)


The fifth set comeback was courtesy of Kailey McKnight, who had 15 kills on the day, and Amy Burkhardt’s career-high of 16 kills. When asked what fueled the comeback in the set, head coach Kristen Wright credited the fact that the Ospreys came out with a different mentality and executed well. 

“I think we came out in an attack mentality. Honestly I can’t attribute it to anything but we just executed.” Wright said. “In that first part of the set they (North Florida) just stayed calm. They (Louisiana) had the lead but I don’t think we lost our belief. And that’s key, we turned it on when it mattered the most.”

Since the Ospreys played two games in one day so far apart from each other, Wright credited that the team still played fresh and treated each game as its own. 

“It’s a long day for all teams in the tournament.” Wright said. “Honestly, we played like it was a single match number one. We were fresh, we played good. I thought that they were excellent at keeping mistakes really low.” 

The Ospreys moved to one game over .500 after winning every game of the UNF Invitational. 

North Florida volleyball continues its first homestand this upcoming weekend as the Ospreys host Alabama A&M University and the University of South Florida. First serves for both of those matches will be at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively.

More information about North Florida volleyball and other Osprey sports can be found on the UNF athletics website

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About the Contributors
Ethan Howick
Ethan Howick, Sports Reporter
Ethan Howick is a first-year communications major at the University of North Florida. Ethan has a passion for sports journalism with hopes of becoming a journalist and/or broadcaster for a sports media company someday. During his free time, Ethan enjoys spending time with his family and attending many sporting events with friends.
Rachel Bacchus
Rachel Bacchus, General Assignment Reporter
Rachel Bacchus is the current General Assignment Reporter at Spinnaker but also volunteers as a photographer. Rachel is a young photographer and writer working towards her Degree in Multimedia Journalism. She is primarily interested in sports photography and political journalism.

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