Sunday, April 21, 2013
North Florida Sand Volleyball Enjoys Its Place in History
Rarely does one receive the opportunity to make history even once.
For North Florida sand volleyball, that opportunity has presented itself twice, and the Ospreys don't seem to be finished just yet.
North Florida has repeated as A-Sun Sand Volleyball Champion, joining the A-Sun as a leader in the sport of sand volleyball as the NCAA's newest emerging sports continues to grow in its popularity and support among institutions and athletic departments.
In 2012 the Ospreys made history by winning the first ever collegiate conference sand volleyball championship. The Ospreys further took advantage of that success by claiming other awards including Coach of the Year for Steve Loeswick and Pair of the Year for Annda Budinska and Dagnija Medina.
UNF's No. 1 pair of Budinska and Medina was perfect through the Ospreys' run in the inaugural 2012 A-Sun Championship, claiming the Pair of the Year honor and representing North Florida and the A-Sun in the pairs competition of the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship.
This season North Florida became a participant in another first, as the Ospreys claimed the inaugural A-Sun regular season title with a perfect 8-0 record in A-Sun play. Entering the A-Sun Championship, North Florida boasted a 66-30 mark overall and a 31-9 mark in A-Sun matches.
Head Coach Steve Loeswick claimed his second Coach of the Year title and the 2012 Pair of the Year, Budinska and Medina, earned 2013 Pair of the Tournament honors as they again posted an undefeated record in the championship.
Budinska and Medina also earned A-Sun All-Conference honors and both were selected to the Academic All-Conference Team with teammates Britt Claessens and Julie Trembley. As a pair of their own, Claessens and Trembley posted a perfect 8-0 mark in A-Sun matches and a 16-1 record overall during the regular season.
“I am extremely proud of the effort and determination shown by our team,” said Loeswick. “We were the hunted team in the conference this season and all year long the girls just stayed focused and committed to our plan. Today we played some very exciting matches and were able to make the plays down the stretch to earn this championship. We are really excited and looking forward to participating in the AVCA National Championship.”
With their second A-Sun Championship title in as many years and third overall, the Ospreys now prepare to take advantage of their third such history making opportunity as they received and accepted the A-Sun's automatic bid to the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championship. The A-Sun is the first conference to receive the automatic bid to the AVCA's event, and who knows? The Ospreys' journey into history may not be ready to end just yet.