Volleyball defeats JU, secures positive ASUN win percentage in return to The Nest

Jacob Justice, Sports Reporter

The University of North Florida (UNF) volleyball team made the most of their return to The Nest this Sunday, defeating rival Jacksonville University (JU), as well as securing a .500 win percentage in ASUN play.

Osprey nation was loud and proud on Sunday night, bringing in a large crowd to support this UNF squad in their first official home game of the season.

When asked if the crowd had any effect on the Ospreys’ performance, head coach Kristen Wright attributed the home court advantage as an extra push of motivation for the players.

“I noticed it, I’m sure the girls noticed it- just that extra push and excitement for the team,” Wright said. “That’s what home court advantage is. I think the only interesting thing was that we are getting used to our home gym, literally and spatially along with the sound and the vibes of the people coming to our games, and that’s really important.”

Head coach Kristen Wright, along with everyone in the program, was thrilled to finally be able to return home after spending months on the road. (Riley Platt)

With this win over the JU Dolphins, UNF has secured at least a .500 win percentage in the ASUN conference, a huge accomplishment for this Osprey unit as there are only two games left before the ASUN tournament.

“The ASUN is a really strong conference,” Wright said “We’ve beaten Florida Gulf Coast and they’re sitting at number two, we’ve beaten Kennesaw state, we’ve beaten Jacksonville. There’s not just one team that’s set to win it all, we haven’t necessarily looked at our record rather at what we’ve been able to do winning against such an elite schedule.”

The Ospreys feel that they could beat anybody in the conference, something they have proven throughout the season, beating strong teams such as Jacksonville State at number three and Kennesaw State at number four.

With this win, the UNF  currently sits seventh in the ASUN conference, a good bet to enter the tournament, as the top eight teams are selected to play.

Along with the improvements to the ASUN record, records for certain Osprey players have been broken, proving the talent of this UNF squad.

After Sunday’s game, outside hitter Mahalia White has earned a career mark of 1,000 kills, as well as earning ASUN player of the week honors.

With the final two games of the regular season being played this week against Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast, the Ospreys will look to finish strong and further improve their record in wake of the upcoming tournament.