UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Volleyball battles, defeats JU in defensive slugfest

The University of North Florida volleyball team faced off against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Wednesday evening, with the Ospreys taking this semester’s first edition of the ‘River City Rumble’, defeating the Dolphins 3-1 at UNF Arena.

The match was closer than the final score showed, as no team held more than a five-point lead in any frame. In spite of that, the Ospreys made the big plays when it mattered most towards the end of each set.

The opening set saw the Ospreys having control early, though faltering, as Jacksonville forced a couple of errors to even up the score at 20. North Florida answered back by going on a 3-0 run following the tie and had the 24-22 lead in the set. However, the Dolphins climbed back by avoiding two set points to tie the match at 24.

North Florida continued to put on a defensive clinic, as two blocks by sophomore setter Annie Antar and middle-blocker Kierstyn McFall helped secure the opening set for the Ospreys, winning 27-25 in extra time.

Set two saw the Ospreys’ offensive attack come alive, with North Florida notching seven more kills than Jacksonville. Despite this, the Dolphins defense kept them in the game with on-time blocking and serving.

The middle set saw another deadlock score of 21-21. Nonetheless, the Ospreys went on a 4-0 run to take the biggest set win of the night, leading to a 2-0 advantage in the match.

Group of volleyball players huddle together following a point.
The Ospreys were able to start out strong with a 2-0 lead after the first two frames (Justin Nedrow)

The third set was the most back-and-forth of the night, culminating in 15 tied scores and six lead changes. Despite junior Kailey McKnight’s six kills in the set, the Ospreys dropped the set, cutting their lead in half.

The fourth and final set of the match saw another close battle between these two rivals. Jacksonville held the 15-12 advantage after, forcing an Osprey timeout. The timeout ended up being a huge momentum shifter, leading the Ospreys to an 18-17 advantage and never giving up from there.

North Florida went on to win the fourth set 25-21 to secure the victory over the Dolphins. The Ospreys improve to 7-9 on the season and 1-2 in Atlantic Sun league play after snapping a five game losing streak.

When asked what adjustments were made in the fourth set after losing the third, head coach Kristen Wright, now 7-0 against Jacksonville at home, mentioned how the team made fewer errors when it mattered most.

“I think we managed to make less errors at the right time,” Wright said. “Both teams were pretty high error and I think that was a testament right there. We handled the pass really well when it mattered. And what was the difference in the end was leadership. I let our captains lead the huddle and the team responded, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The game was quite the grudge match, as each team had over 25 errors. The Ospreys’ had a slightly better hitting percentage (.145) compared to Jacksonville (.139), which ended up making the difference in the match.   

Wright was also asked how defeating a rival boosted the team’s morale, adding that the Ospreys need to keep finding what works best in ASUN conference play.

“It’s awesome. Winning is a habit and you just gotta take it and keep moving forward, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s a competitive league and we have great talent. It’s not the first time we’ve had everybody back and healthy so we’re starting to roll a little bit,” she said.

North Florida volleyball will be on the road this weekend, with the Ospreys traveling to Nashville to face the Lipscomb Bisons. The first serve is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30.

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


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected] 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
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.
Justin Nedrow
Justin Nedrow, Photographer
Justin Nedrow is a Jacksonville-based photographer who started volunteering for Spinnaker in 2020 and recently graduated in spring 2023 with a degree in sports management from the University of North Florida. Taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos, Justin has helped Spinnaker reporters cover everything from sports games, protests, ordinary campus life and more. Photography is a passion project for Justin, one he started to meet new people and express himself without words.

Comments (0)

Spinnaker intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, slurs, defamation, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and will be removed if they do not adhere to these standards. Spinnaker does not allow anonymous comments, and Spinnaker requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All UNF Spinnaker Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *