FGCU falls to North Florida in Regional Semifinal
MIAMI SHORES, Fla.—The North Florida Ospreys outlasted a feisty Florida Gulf Coast Eagle squad to advance to the finals of the 2004 NCAA Division II South Region Volleyball Tournament Friday night in the Health & Sports Center at Barry University.
“I heard they were a very good defensive team and they served really tough,” North Florida head coach Bryan Bunn said. “They really picked that (their defense) up as the match went on.”
The Ospreys (30-5) powered out to a game-one win, out-hitting the Eagles .444 to .057 in the frame. Jackie Struck was the big bomber for the Ospreys, racking up seven kills in 10 attacks for a .700 hitting percentage.
Game two was a much tighter affair. The game was tied 28-28, but Struck connected for two of her eight kills to close out the game for the Ospreys.
The Eagles (24-6), captured game three by straightening out their hitting. FGCU connected for 18 kills, led by seven each for Devon Watts and Kristy Hartley.
“We started touching more balls and serving stronger so they weren’t able to run their offense as easy,” the Eagles’ Heather Van Olst said.
But the Ospreys re-established the upper hand in game four, out-hitting the Eagles 22 kills to eight. Emily Kohler led UNF with seven kills, while Struck and Maegen Weisert each added six.
“We got fired up (after the third game),” UNF’s Maegen Weisert said. “We really didn’t want that to be our last match, so we picked it up.”
“I think we played a better team today,” Eagle head coach Jaye Flood said. “I think we tried to adjust, and we did, which is great for a young team. But North Florida was outstanding. They played great defense and we couldn’t put the ball away.”
Struck led all hitters with 23 kills, while Kohler added 19 and Weisert had 17. Valerie Martinez directed the UNF offense with 69 assists, while Katie Kazmierczak had 18 digs.
For the Eagles, Watts led with 15 kills, Hartley had 13 and Van Olst added 10. Laura Manovill had 43 assists and Brooke Youngquist had 15 digs.
The Ospreys will face the Barry/Florida Southern winner in the finals on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 7:00 pm.
North Florida def. Florida Gulf Coast 30-18,30-28,21-30,30-23
Florida Gulf Coast (24-6) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Watts, Devon 15-1-6; Hartley, Kristy 13-0-1; Van Olst, Heather 10-3-1; Youngquist, Brooke 7-1-1; Brooks, Lori 6-0-4; Felicio, Ingrid 0-1-0; Totals 51-6-8.0. (Assists) - Manovill, Laura 43. (Dig leaders) - Youngquist, Brooke 15; Hendry, Whitney 12; Van Olst, Heather 10; Felicio, Ingrid 8; Manovill, Laura 8
North Florida (30-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Jackie Struck 23-2-6; Emily Kohler 19-0-4; Maegan Weisert 17-0-0; Kelly Kazmierczak 7-0-1; Valerie Martinez 6-0-5; Jennifer King 5-0-4; Jenna Thomas 0-1-0; Totals 77-3-11.0. (Assists) - Valerie Martinez 69. (Dig leaders) - Kelly Kazmierczak 18; Valerie Martinez 15; Maegan Weisert 12; Tara Taylor 10