Volleyball takes must-win game, makes it to conference playoffs

Spinnaker

By Zach Morgan

The UNF Ospreys (14-16, 5-8 Atlantic Sun) defeated the Stetson Hatters Nov. 12 (9-18, 2-11 A-Sun) 3-1 (25-15, 15-25, 25-19, 25-18). The Ospreys went into the game fighting for the final spot in the Atlantic Sun Tournament with rival Jacksonville University. The Ospreys needed JU to lose its game against Florida Gulf Coast University later on in the night.

Junior Carolyn Jenkins led the Ospreys with 12 kills while junior Nicole Baran added 20 digs.
The Ospreys came out firing and gained an early 4-0 lead that included two aces by Dagnija Medina. UNF used a couple more runs to extend their lead, which eventually stretched to 10 points. The Ospreys would claim the first set by scoring five of the last six points.

The second set was not as easy for the Ospreys, despite an early six-point run. The Hatters would respond with their own five-point run followed by seven unanswered points to win the set over the Ospreys and even the score.

Set three was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams. UNF eventually pulled out to 14-12 lead over the Hatters. The Ospreys added a five-point run to extend their lead. Finally, a critical kill by Cameron McGuire allowed UNF to close out the intense set and take a 2-1 set lead.

The fourth set would prove to be the biggest as the Ospreys desperately battled for the final playoff spot that hung in the balance. UNF took an early lead, only to see Stetson battle back to close the deficit to three. Junior Paige Pridgeon provided a spark late in the set with a kill. The Ospreys were back on the attack before Stetson trimmed the lead to three a second time. Another critical kill by McGuire proved to be the proverbial nail in Stetson’s coffin.

Following the game, JU lost to FGCU 3-2, thus sealing UNF’s invitation to the Atlantic Sun conference tournament. The Ospreys will travel to Nashville, Tenn., the host city of this year’s tournament, to take on FGCU for the second time in six days. The Ospreys lost to FGCU Nov. 11 3-2 and will be looking for revenge Nov. 17 in their opening round game against the Eagles.