Women’s volleyball defeats JU, clinches Atlantic Sun berth

Spinnaker

The UNF women’s volleyball team worked all season for one goal — to make the postseason.

It accomplished that goal Nov. 12 when it beat Jacksonville University 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-23) inside the UNF Arena.

The win will take it, for the first time, to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.

In the previous match up between the Ospreys (7-21, 4-6 A-Sun) and the Dolphins (14-16, 4-6 A-Sun), Jacksonville took the match, 3-2, in a nonconference game at JU. Conference rules were changed this year, counting only one game against conference opponents toward conference standings.

The second match between the rivals however, turned out differently.

The win against JU came on senior night, where three seniors — Jessica Catelano, Marshay Greenlee and Chelsea Rabe — were honored before the game.

Sophomore Paige Pridgeon led the Ospreys with 18 kills, while Catelano and Greenlee added 11 and seven kills, respectively.

“I’m really excited because [the win] helps us get to where we need to go and accomplish our goals,” Greenlee said. “It feels good to get to the tournament, finally.”

This marks the first time the Ospreys have a spot in the conference tournament since making the transition into Division I play.

During the season, the volleyball team was under some criticism due to a losing record, but the team made sure to overcome those, athletes said.

“Now it’s showing — all the hard work we put into it and the criticism we got from everybody,” Catelano said.

The team rivalry with JU and getting to the tournament motivated the Ospreys to pick up their game, head coach Kevin Campbell said.

“This team is really like a team in every definition. They play for each other, they play together, there is great mutual respect on this team, and I want more matches with this team,” Campbell said.

Campbell said the Ospreys watched about eight hours of game tape to prepare for this match, and formed a specific game plan to compete against the Dolphins. The Ospreys planned to serve hard, hit hard and stay deep on the court.

“I think everyone played to their best ability, and we played together as a team, so I think that was the key,” Pridgeon said.

In the A-Sun tournament, the Ospreys intend to have the same game plan but will tailor it according to the teams they face, she said.

“I think coming in as an underdog, people will underestimate us, and I think that’s the most exciting part because we have nothing to lose,” Pridgeon said. “I feel like it’s a new season, but it’s motivation to work harder next week in practice.”

The Ospreys’ will take on East Tennessee State University at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 at Alico Arena in Fort Myers.