The 2011 General Shale Brick Atlantic Sun Basketball Championship started with UNF’s first-ever tournament victory and can now end with the program’s first-ever A-Sun Title. UNF has toppled third-seeded Jacksonville in the opening quarterfinals followed by Friday night’s four-point win against two-time defending champions, ETSU, in the semifinals.
Both wins marked program firsts for the Ospreys. It cemented the first-ever victory against the Bucs in 12 tries and propelled the Ospreys into the championship in only the program’s second appearance in the March tournament.
“Those wins are great, but we can’t be satisfied with what we have accomplished so far [in the tournament],” stated sophomore forward Andy Diaz. “We have to keep pushing until the final game to reach our goals.”
Now on Saturday, UNF and Head Coach Matthew Driscoll appear in their first-ever A-Sun Championship Final, where they will try to stretch their five-game win streak, a program Division I record, to six to clinch their first-ever A-Sun Championship.
The Ospreys’ championship opponent, top-seeded Belmont, has a winning streak of their own at 11 games, which is tied for second longest in the nation, and will give the Ospreys their toughest test of the four-day tournament.
“Coach [Driscoll] will start preparing for the game tomorrow immediately,” added Diaz. “He will have us ready to go tomorrow.”
Both teams will need to be at the top of their games in the championship final to clinch the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and for UNF their tournament of firsts just might led them to finish first.