Sand volleyball splits first major tournament

Josh Brannock

(Photo by Andrew Noble)

By: Josh Brannock, Sports Editor

In its first major tournament in program history, the UNF sand volleyball team went 2-2 at the College of Charleston Sand Classic March 23-25.

The Ospreys started the classic against Pepperdine University, ranked No. 6 at the end of the indoor season. UNF was swept in the match 5-0, losing all five pairs matches 2-0.

After the opening day blowout, the team faced Mercer University in an attempt to hop onto the winning track. The team dominated the Bears en route to a 5-0 sweep. The Ospreys took four of the five matches in two sets. The only match that went to three sets was the No. 3 pair. The team of Brit Classens and Paige Pridgeon defeated Caroine Carlton and Emily Rochefort after dropping the first set.

On the final day of the classic, UNF would take on the University of Alabama Birmingham and host school College of Charleston.

The team started the day off strong, beating UAB 3-2 but falling to CofC 3-2 in the later game.

Coach Steve Loeswick said he thought the team had a good weekend, but falling to CofC in the final match was what kept it from being a great weekend.

Although the team played in a duals match earlier this season against rival Jacksonville University, this was the first tournament that asked the team to perform in multiple matches in a short amount of time.

The Ospreys will play Florida Atlantic University March 30 before hosting their first NCAA tournament March 31-April 1. The UNF Sand Invitational, hosted by Chicago Pizza and Metro PCS, will be tournament style, with seven schools sending five pairs of teams each to participate in the event. Saturday will determine where each pair will be seeded in bracket play on Sunday. Each pair is guaranteed two matches on Sunday.

Teams participating in the tournament are Florida State University, FAU, University of Hawaii, CofC, UAB, JU and UNF.

The invitational will be played at Jax Beach just south of the pier.

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