Underclassmen shine in UNF Volleyball’s third-straight win

Zach Yearwood, Sports Reporter

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Featured image by: Lili Weinstein

The Ospreys won their third straight match by outlasting the North Alabama Lions in four sets with stellar performances by Sophomore Solimar Cestero and freshmen Maddie Norris and Julianna Askew.

The Ospreys decisively defeated the Lions in the first set, taking it 25-11. Once taking the lead with the initial point, they never allowed North Alabama to even tie the score. Norris led all scoring with five kills on seven attacks and Askew recorded 15 assists in the set. 

“I was very happy with our proficiency [in the first set],” UNF Volleyball Head Coach Kristen Wright said about their early success. The Ospreys ended the first set with a .720 attack percentage.

Lili Weinstein
The Ospreys celebrate their third-straight win.

Despite being down 16-7 at one point in the second set, the Lions rallied to take their first lead of the match at 19-18, which was fueled by scoring seven unanswered points. The two teams fought back and forth late in the set but in the end, North Alabama took the set, 25-22. Breylee Linder had eight assists for the Lions while Askew put up another 13 in the second set for the Ospreys.

UNF responded after the break with a 25-16 set win in the third. Although the Lions kept it close early, they were unable to keep up with the Ospreys relentless attack as Cestero added nine kills in the third set victory. 

“I was just focusing more [in the third set],” Cestero said when asked about how she adjusted mentally at the break. “I was focused on transitioning more and just watching where the blocks were set up.”

A hotly contested fourth set saw the Ospreys seal the match win, 25-23. The Ospreys did not lead in the fourth set until the score was 23-22, surging ahead thanks to a 7-2 run. Askew tallied another eleven assists, giving her 54 by the end of the night.

Cestero finished the night with 18 kills while Norris ended with 11.

The win moves the Ospreys up to 10-12 (3-4 ASUN) and North Alabama falls to 3-17 (1-6 ASUN).

North Florida will travel to Nashville to challenge Lipscomb on Sunday, October 20 at 3:00 p.m.

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