Volleyball kicks off season opener weekend

Ronnesha Rodgers

Junior setter Madilyn McCarty. Photo courtesy of UNF Athletics.

The Ospreys finished the Gamecock Invitational 2-1 after epic comebacks and being swept in their season opener weekend.

In their season opener, the Ospreys defeated the Troy University Trojans 3-2 in the first day of the invitational.

To kickoff the first set, the North Florida brought in the first point after an attack error by the Trojans.

I was proud of the teams’ fight and the character that they showed to come back from down 2-1 to win the match,” said head coach Steve Loeswick.

After constant scoring by both teams the Ospreys grabbed the first set in a 25-19 win.

Once UNF earned the first set win they began simmer down a little in the next two sets.

In the beginning of the second set, the Ospreys did their best to try to keep the Trojans down. At one point in the game, UNF had led the Trojans 5-2, but they wouldn’t stay down for long.

The Trojans bounced back and scored five consecutive points, pushing the score to 7-5. Trying to get the Ospreys motivated again, coach Loeswick called a timeout.

After back and forth scoring, the Trojans led the second set 24-22, and only needed one more point to close out the set with a win.

The Ospreys weren’t ready to give up though. UNF scored three consecutive points and tied the game at 24-24.

The Trojans needed two consecutive points to now win the set, which they were able to do. The final score of the second set rested at 26-24.

The Ospreys dropped the third set as well, in a 25-21 loss.

Not ready to give up the game, North Florida put their best foot forward to win the fourth set to take the game to five sets.

In the fourth set, the Ospreys wouldn’t let the Trojans get more than three points ahead of them. At one point of time, UNF and Troy were tied 18-18 after the Trojans scored five points back-to-back.

The Ospreys called a timeout to get their heads together and they were ready to play again. The scoring continued to be close, but North Florida clinched the fourth set and sent the game to five sets.

In the final set, the Ospreys were a powerhouse. They scored seven points in a row and finished the set with a 15-6 win which gave them the overall victory.

I’m happy that we got the win and know we have some better volleyball in us moving forward,” said Loeswick.

With this victory, the Ospreys grabbed the win and had multiple notable performances as well.

Redshirt senior Carina Hoff recorded 13 kills and junior Madilyn McCarty recorded 37 assist.

Senior Carinne Turner grabbed 10 kills and 17 digs, while sophomore Taryn Griffey nine kills and seven blocks.

We still have a lot of room for improvement and a lot of room for growth, but I was excited with how many of our new players played for the first time,” said head coach Steve Loeswick. “We need to get better and more consistent, and that is something that is completely within our control.”

Junior middle blocker Alana Shoff. Photo courtesy of UNF Athletics.

Day Two

On the second day of the Invitational, North Florida played the Mercer Bears in a close game at 10 a.m.

In the first set, the Ospreys started off hot and  scored the first three points on the game. After a service error by senior Carinne Turner, the Bears picked up their first point.

UNF stayed strong through the first set and never let the Bears pass them in scoring. The Ospreys won the first set 25-21.

During the second set, UNF started to fall short. The Bears put their A-game on and took down the Ospreys 25-18. In the third set, North Florida came back swinging. Staying ahead of the Bears the entire set, the Ospreys clinched a 25-19 set.

Right as the Ospreys start heating up again the Bear came back ready to bite in the fourth set. The UNF lead the first part of the set 4-1, but that wouldn’t last long. The Bears eventually tie the set 5-5.

After back-and-forth scoring the Ospreys regain the lead at 15-14. They stayed in the lead for seven volleys before the Bears tied the game 18-18. After tying the game the Bears clinched the lead and the set win with a 25-23 score.

Pushing the game to five sets, UNF came out victorious in a close final set 17-15 win to defeat the Bears 3-2.

The Ospreys had some great performances. Freshman middle blocker Devyn Wheeler had 14 kills, while sophomore Taryn Griffey had 10 kills. Junior setter Madilyn McCarty had 25 assist and 12 digs.

In the final game, North Florida fell short of a win against the South Carolina Gamecocks and got swept 3-0. The Gamecocks out-did the Ospreys in a number of categories including kills, assist and digs.

Redshirt senior Carina Hoff had a strong performance, grabbing 9 kills and 5 blocks against the Gamecocks.

“We did some really good things today. We are looking forward to playing in front of our home fans this week,” said Loeswick.

The next game will be the Ospreys’ home opener on Aug. 30 at 7 p.m.

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