Volleyball stays average in conference play

Spinnaker

By Zach Morgan

The UNF volleyball team completed a weekend home-stand against two conference opponents with a win and a loss.

Kennesaw State (6-12, 1-2 A-Sun) defeated the Ospreys (8-9, 2-2 A-Sun) at home Sept. 30 three sets to one. UNF was able to recover two days later against Mercer (5-13, 0-4 A-Sun) with a three sets to one victory of their own.

Kennesaw State gave the Ospreys one of the most tightly contested matches of the season.

“That was a tough fight, a raw game,” said Carolyn Jenkins, a junior middle blocker. “We will definitely be prepared for them the next time we see them.”

The Ospreys and Owls battled tightly for most of the match, splitting the first two sets before losing the final two by a total of six points. Paige Pridgeon, a junior outside hitter, recorded a double-double performance with 19 kills and 16 digs. Pridgeon is only 22 kills shy of 1,000 for her career.

“Paige is definitely our leader out there, and it’s natural for her. As far as us, that makes the rest of us believers. We believe in her to take us to where we want to go,” Jenkins said.

Carolyn Jenkins had a career game — hitting .420 and recording a career-best 13 kills.

It was clear that adjustments needed to be made before the Ospreys took on Mercer, including improving their wing-defense as well as their blocking up front, said head coach Kevin Campbell.

Whatever adjustments were made definitely worked, as the Ospreys defeated the Bears behind the strong play and Paige Pridgeon had another double-double performance.

But the Bears posted a 25-17 win in the first set.

“I think the team knew that we didn’t come out very sharp, I have to give the credit for the change to the leaders of the team. I think they got mad at themselves and said enough of this,” Campbell said.

The Ospreys turned things around and won three consecutive sets to take the match.

Freshman setter Casey Giovanazzi recorded 44 assists and added 10 digs to pace the Ospreys.

Next up for the team is a three-game road trip that ends with back-to-back conference games against USC-Upstate and East Tennessee State University. At 2-2 in the conference and 8-9 overall, those two games could be pivotal.

“Those two are very big. Conference games are always important,” Pridgeon said.

The Ospreys sit in the middle of the Atlantic Sun Conference, but have remaining home games against all four conference foes seated above them in the standings.

“We do need to take a few steps forward in the next couple weeks. We need to start making a name for ourselves in the conference,” Campbell said. “If all the individuals on our team play a good match at the same time, we can beat anyone in the conference.”

Schedule:
Oct. 14 vs. Belmont
Oct. 15 vs. Lipscomb