UNF volleyball fueled by strong start, take opener against JU

Riley Platt, Reporter

Featured Image: Morgan Purvis

UNF volleyball was back in action on Friday as the team squared off against JU in the River City Rumble. The Ospreys got off to a strong start, but would this be enough to carry them over the Dolphins?

Friday’s match was the first of two this weekend, as the two teams will also face off on Saturday. In February, a previous series led to a UNF sweep, with the Ospreys taking both matches three sets to none. This served as plenty of motivation for the revenge-minded Dolphins entering this weekend’s series.

The first set got off to a somewhat even start, with both squads trading points back and forth. After being tied at 12-12, UNF went on a run to take a 21-15 lead. After a series of opposing timeouts, a kill by junior Solimar Cestero secured the Ospreys’ 25-20 set win.

Things wouldn’t go as well for UNF in the second set, as the Dolphins jumped out to a hot start. Now up 7-2, everything was going JU’s way. A timeout called by head coach Kristen Wright helped UNF get some points on the board, but JU didn’t intend to slow down any. Despite the Ospreys coming back to tie things up at 10-10, JU got their feet back under them and extended their lead once more. A kill by JU freshman Jenna McNamara won the Dolphins the set, tying the match at one set apiece.

The third set saw the Ospreys bounce back. It was yet another even start, but unlike previous sets, this close-knit score would remain throughout the remainder of the set. Despite finding themselves down 25-24 at set point, UNF fought back to win the set 27-25 with a kill by junior Bre Walp.

Going into the fourth set, JU had their backs against the wall. A set win was needed to stay alive, but they ultimately couldn’t come up with one as UNF won the set 25-18. It was close throughout much of the set, but some clutch plays from the Ospreys allowed them to pull away late.

A match win to start the weekend is lovely, but the Ospreys will be back at it Saturday as they look to complete the season sweep against their arch-rival. Saturday’s 7 p.m. match is open to the public with free admission at UNF Arena. Following this weekend, the Ospreys will have one more series next weekend against Stetson before the ASUN tournament begins on March 27. Follow along with Spinnaker for the latest on UNF volleyball.


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