Saturday September 14, 2013No. 5 Gators Claim Third Consecutive Active Ankle Challenge Crown
The No. 5 University of Florida volleyball team picked up two more wins on Saturday over Iona (3-0) and Western Michigan (3-1) to claim the 2013 Active Ankle Challenge title. The Gators are the only champions of the event in its three-year history at the University of Florida.
Florida hit .386 and .377 in Saturday’s matches, respectively, outscoring Iona 61.0-29.0 and Western Michigan 87.0-68.0. The Gators only tallied one reception error on the day, turning in a .993 serve reception percentage Saturday.
· Freshman Alex Holston had a banner match against Iona, notching career highs in kills (13), hitting percentage (.667) and points scored (13.5). Holston picked up another double-digit kill effort against Western Michigan with 12 kills and scored another 13.5 points. The Gator rookie averaged 3.57 kills/set Saturday, hitting .526.
· Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann tied her season high of 15 kills against Western Michigan, which combined with her 10 against Iona marked the seventh match of the season in which Mann has had double-digit kills. Mann averaged 3.57 kills/set Saturday, hitting .622.
· Sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi tied her career high with five blocks against Iona. She also recorded nine kills to tally 12 points.
· Sophomore setter Mackenzie Dagostino also shined against Iona, setting a career-high hitting percentage (.800), adding season highs in kills (4), assists (40) and points (5.5), and tying her season-high in digs (6).
· Senior setter Taylor Brauneis tallied a season-high 62 assists against Western Michigan.
· Sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek recorded three season-highs with 21 stuffs, two service aces and 23.5 points in the win over Western Michigan.
· Sophomore defensive specialist Nikki O’Rourke scooped a career-high 11 digs against Western Michigan.
· Junior libero Taylor Unroe notched a season-high 21 digs against Western Michigan.
· Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette set two career highs with 15 kills and 15.0 points, registering a season-high .467 hitting efficiency against Western Michigan.
RECORDS: Florida: 8-1, Georgetown: 6-5, Iona: 1-8, Western Michigan: 6-4
NOT ON OUR WATCH: Florida has forced six of its nine opponents to operate at under .200 hitting efficiency. The Gators held Iona to .087 in Florida’s first match on Saturday.
DEFENSE DIGGING NAILS: The Florida defense had one of its best weekends of the year, as Florida libero Taylor Unroe averaged 4.70 digs/set over the last three matches. Sophomore Nikki O’Rourke made the most of her minutes, averaging 2.60 digs/set in just three rotations. Junior Holly Pole was right behind her, turning in a 2.50 dig/set average over the weekend.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: To close out the family affair over the Active Ankle Challenge, both Florida senior Taylor Brauneis and Georgetown freshman Caitlin Brauneis were named to the All-Tournament Team. They were joined by Active Ankle Challenge MVP Živa Recek, Florida senior Chloe Mann, Iona’s Catrina Warren and Western Michigan’s Stephenee Yancy.
MARY’S MINUTE: “It was tough because Western Michigan played so well. They passed nails. There was a point in the first set where, passing on a three-point scale, they were about a 2.7. We had no answer for them defensively, because they were so in-system all night long. I thought their libero was outstanding; she was terrific. You take away her play, what she did defensively and what she did passing and it changes the whole complexion of the match. This is what we’ve come to expect, is that a team like Western Michigan with nothing to lose… a team that wins 20 matches regularly every year; they’re going to come in here and play well and Western Michigan played very well.”
MARY BY THE NUMBERS:
At Florida: 694-81
UP NEXT: Florida faces in-state foe Florida State on Tuesday, September 17. The Gators’ greatest non-conference rivalry enters its 28th year and will be the 53rd meeting between the Gators and the Seminoles. Under Gator head coach Mary Wise, Florida has gone a remarkable 28-3 against FSU, including an undefeated 16-0 at home.
NEUTRAL MATCHES: Saturday morning, Georgetown rallied from an 0-2 deficit to defeat Western Michigan 3-2 (16-25, 19-25, 27-25, 25-20, 15-10). In the process, four Hoyas registered double-digit kills, while Caitlin Brauneis tallied 58 assists en route to Georgetown’s .274 hitting percentage. Western Michigan also had four players with double-digit kills, while Lexie Pawlik tied Brauneis’ 58 assists. In the final neutral match of the tournament, Georgetown picked up its second win with a 3-1 (26-24, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18) victory over Iona. Both Georgetown and Iona had three players with double-digit kills.
FOLLOW THE GATORS: For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please visit GatorZone. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida Volleyball (@GatorZoneVB) and Coach Mary Wise (@GatorMary) on Twitter. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.