UNF volleyball suffers season-ending loss to Lipscomb in ASUN semis

John Watson, Sports Editor

After one of their best seasons in program history, the Osprey volleyball team suffered a season-ending 3-1 loss in the conference tournament to the Lipscomb Bisons. After an unusual regular season, the Ospreys had their most promising team in recent years and were poised to have a shot at the title. That hope was cut short on Friday evening.

 After sweeping the Stetson hatters in the ASUN quarterfinals, the Ospreys would have to face the Lipscomb Bisons who only lost one conference game all season. (Justin Nedrow)

Traveling to Kennesaw, Ga. for the conference tournament, the Ospreys were in unfamiliar territory as they hadn’t played Lipscomb in the regular season. This year, the conference was split into a North and a South division, and the Bisons were in the North division. The Ospreys competed against every team in the South division four times and never faced a North opponent.

This unusual conference format made this game that more interesting.

In the first set, the Ospreys held their ground and faced their longest set of the season as UNF prevailed, in the end, 31-29, thanks to crucial kills from Maddie Boyd and Kailey McKnight. This 1-0 lead and momentum for the Ospreys was short-lived.

The following two sets saw similar results for the Bisons as early leads created some wiggle room for Lipscomb. As UNF would make pushes to claw back and making the sets come down to the final points, their efforts would come up short in both sets.

With a set lead of 2-1, the Bisons knew that the Ospreys were close to finding their spark and tying this one up. As the fourth set was another close one, the Bisons kept their intensity and were able to fend off the hopeful Ospreys 25-22.

With the win, the Bisons will face the FGCU Eagles for the ASUN conference title on Sunday. The Eagles found their way to the ship with their second postseason sweep as they defeated Kennesaw State.

The Ospreys will now head back to Jacksonville, where they will begin their shortened offseason. With only one senior graduating this spring, UNF has much to look forward as they will keep all of their postseason starters. In a release posted to UNFOspreys.com, head coach Kristen Wright spoke about her team’s commitment this season and the growth they’ve had within the program.

“This tournament is really up for grabs for anyone,” Wright said. “All of the coaches, ASUN staff and administrators have openly shared that this is one of the best teams UNF has ever had. In a year like this, we can’t overlook the commitment our team has lived out to go the season without any postponements due to COVID. We will build from this as we move forward into the fall.”

UNF finished the season with their best tournament result since 2012 and a record of 10-10, going 8-4 in conference matches.


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