JACKSONVILLE The first place Florida Gulf Coast University volleyball team won its 13th consecutive match (12th straight Atlantic Sun Conference match) on Tuesday night, picking up a 3-1 (29-27, 25-16, 19-25, 25-18) win over UNF to become the first squad to secure a spot in the 2012 A-Sun Conference Tournament.
The Eagles, who have only lost eight sets in conference play this season, improved to 17-7 overall (12-0 A-Sun), while the Ospreys fell to 14-11 overall (5-7 A-Sun).
Sophomore Jill Hopper blasted a match-high 20 kills and racked up nine digs to lead the Eagles. Junior Christine Pinder recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Junior Kaitlin Holm and senior Brittany Muse chipped in with nine kills each. Sophomore Whitney Masters racked up a match-high 26 digs, while sophomore Gigi Meyer and junior Courtney Greenberg each registered double-doubles and finished with 42 assists and 28 digs combined.
Trailing by four points midway through the first set, the Ospreys used a 5-0 run to take an 18-17 lead. The two teams battled back-and-forth for the remaining points. Facing set point, UNF's Dagnija Medina tied the set at 27-27, but Hopper made back-to-back kills to give the Eagles the set, 29-27.
In the second set, FGCU held UNF to a .121 hitting percentage en route to a 25-16 win that gave the Green and Blue a 2-0 lead in the match.
Thanks to a .311 hitting percentage in the third set, the Ospreys rebounded and avoided being swept. Leading by one point, UNF used a 5-0 run to take a 23-17 advantage. North Florida went on to take the set 25-19 after an Eagle service error.
The Green and Blue jumped on UNF early in the fourth set and never looked back as they went on to win the game 25-18 and the match 3-1.
The Eagles return to the court this weekend when they host the Hatters of Stetson at Alico Arena on Saturday, Oct. 27. First serve is set for 4 p.m.