Ospreys drop two, O’Connell and Askew shine

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

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Game Highlights by: Brett Nweeia

Featured Image by: Darvin Nelson

Despite losing to ECU and Wake Forest, Julianna Askew and Gabby O’Connell had stellar performances in day one of the UNF Invitational

UNF vs ECU

The Pirates got an early 3-0 lead in the first set until three unanswered points by the Ospreys tied it at three including a service ace from Julianna Askew. At the first timeout, ECU led 16-11 with the team recording a .421 attack  percentage. The Pirates lead extended to 19-14 later on, fueled by Sydney Hall with five kills.ECU went on to win the first set, 25-17. Hall led the Pirates with six kills. 

Early on in  the second set, both teams were neck and neck .The Ospreys climbed within two on a kill by Miriam Stingl as the Pirates led, 10-8. At the first timeout, the Pirates were up 19-15 as the Ospreys had a low .140 attack percentage. UNF had a late comeback as they reached within one on a kill by  O’Connell as the Pirates were only up, 20-19. The set was tied at 22 on a kill by Taryn Griffey. The Pirates cemented the 25-23 win on a kill by Sydney Kleinman. 

The Ospreys tied it up at five on an attack error by Natalie Tyson and UNF continued that momentum to regain a 7-6 lead on a kill that was spiked by Solimar Cestero. The Ospreys stretched their lead to 19-14 on an attack error by Natalie Tyson. The Pirates tried to close in as they were only down 22-18 at the third timeout. ECU reached within one on a service ace by Kleinman as the Ospreys were up, 24-23. The Ospreys eventually prevailed with a 25-23 win in the third set. 

The Ospreys and Pirates traded leads early on as the momentum was swinging like a pendulum.As the first timeout hit, the Pirates led, 17-14. Each team battled as it was tied at twenty. A key kill by Taryn Griffey tied it up at 23. After the Pirates tried to win by two with a 25-24 lead, Griffey hindered their plans with a spike to keep the team’s hope alive. Unfortunately, two unanswered points by ECU led to a 27-25 win. 

UNF Volleyball Head Coach Kristen Wright talked about her impressions of the third set. 

“I think we won the serve and pass game, we started out a little better than them which we’re normally pretty good at, even in pre-season. I felt like we were just calmer and we started ahead versus the other sets when we’ve had to chase them a little bit,” Coach Wright said.

Askew recorded 42 assists throughout all four sets, more than anyone else in the match.

O’Connell and Griffey combined for 24 kills. 

“All my teammates were really encouraging me all the time and at first,  I was really nervous because I am a Freshman and I was starting as a five-one,” Askew said. 

UNF vs Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons grabbed an early 3-0 lead to start the first set. The Ospreys tied it up at six on a kill by Griffey and gained a 7-6 lead with O’Connell kill. 

Wake Forest tied it up at nine and the lead was short-lived as Cestero spiked one for the 10-9 lead.The Ospreys extended  their largest lead of set, 21-16. 

At the second timeout, the Ospreys led, 23-18, with an impressive .406 hitting percentage

A kill by O’Connell sealed the deal for UNF in the 25-19 win. 

Wake Forest woke up in the second set and led 4-1 early. The Ospreys tied it up at five on an attack error by the Demon Deacons.UNF found a groove and scored three unanswered points for a 19-16 lead, recording a .533 attack percentage. 

The Demon Deacons tied it up at 19 and stretched the lead to 21-19. The Ospreys tied it at 21 on a kill by O’Connell. Despite a 22-21 Ospreys lead, their lead was squandered as Wake Forest won 25-23 in the third set. 

The Demon Deacons started out the fourth set 4-1 as UNF called an early timeout to take a new approach. 

Down 8-1, the Ospreys clawed within four as the Demon Deacons led 13-9. 

At the first timeout, Wake Forest was up, 17-9, being fueled by their four blocks. Demon Deacons have four blocks. Wake Forest wins, 25-12. 

The Ospreys came in late but  tied it at four on a kill by Askew. Both squads continued to trade points until Wake Forest started to pull away after a kill by Jaclyn Childress to set the score at 13-8, Deacs. The Ospreys came within four on a block to make the score 20-16, Deacs but Wake Forest eventually won, 25-21. 

Coach Wright talked about the team’s performance against the Demon Deacons

“I was really proud of our team, we obviously are not satisfied with the loss.That’s disappointing, especially with how played in sets one and two. We did a really good job on our scouting report and executing our gameplan. I think we showed some promise in what we’re building,” Wright said. 

O’Connell led the team with 20 kills on the night. 

“I think our defense was really good tonight and then Julianna set really smart today. She saw where the block was and that really freed me up and I think our middles did a great job transitioning and that leaves me on one on one,” O’Connell said. 

The Ospreys play Mercer on Saturday, September 7 at 2 p.m. 

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