Saturday August 25, 2012No. 18/20 Gators Earn Second Straight Sweep, Defeat Florida A&M
The No. 18/20 University of Florida volleyball team (2-0, 0-0 SEC) swept the Florida A&M Rattlers, 3-0 (25-11, 25-11, 25-14), to begin day two of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. The Gators were led by 12.5 points apiece from freshman Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) and junior Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.).
Recek led all hitters with 12 kills, hitting .455 with just two errors on 22 swings. Mann hit .381 with 11 kills on 21 attacks. Another bright spot for the Gators was freshman outside hitter Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who had eight kills and only one error for a .412 hitting clip while registering 11.5 points. Whaley added three service aces on the afternoon, tying for the team lead with redshirt freshman middle blocker Simone Antwi (Lorton, Va.), who tallied 7.5 points with her four kills and three aces against the Rattlers.
Florida hit .365 on the afternoon, thanks to phenomenal setting by both Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Dana Backlund (Wildomar, Calif.), who combined for 33 assists against FAMU. Brauneis played the first two sets while Backlund ran the offense in the third stanza.
The Gators hit an impressive .571 in the opening set, registering 17 kills with only one error on 28 swings. Mann and Whaley contributed five kills apiece in the first set, while Recek added four. Antwi and sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.), both went on long service runs in the opening stanza, as they combined for 16 service attempts in set one. A block by Mann and Recek sparked the Gators’ run to close the first set, as Unroe stepped behind the service line at 19-11 and never looked back, firing off six straight points to give the Gators the first set victory, 25-11.
A fast start in set two helped the Gators jump out to an early lead, as freshman defensive specialist Nikki O’Rourke (Clearwater, Fla.) used her tricky jump float to rattle off nine straight points to open the second stanza. Florida continued to roll, as Mann and Recek traded kills to put Florida ahead, 15-4. Antwi then stepped behind the service line once again, serving up back-to-back aces and catching the Rattlers off guard, putting the Gators up 22-5. Mann earned her ninth kill of the match, putting away the second set, 25-11.
The teams traded points to open the third set, but Whaley’s jump serve got the Gators back out front, scoring five straight points including two aces. With four freshmen on the floor, including three in the front row, Florida continued its run as Backlund found the seam of the block for both Antwi and Recek. Backlund ended the match with a service ace, her second of the match, to give the Gators the third set win, 25-14.
Florida returns to action tonight, as the Gators close out the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational with their first-ever match against Florida Gulf Coast. First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. and Gator fans can listen live on ESPN 850/900 and watch online on GatorVision.
FLORIDA GULF COAST DEF. FIU, 3-2
The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles won a tight five-set contest, 3-2, over Florida International Saturday morning at the O'Connell Center. The victory moves FGCU to 2-0 on the season while FIU falls to 0-2. The Eagles had four players in double-digit kills and three with double dips in digs. Marija Prsa had a match-high 25 kills for the Panthers, while Lucia Castro added a double-double of 15 kills and 15 digs.