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Photo: Gorman Findley

Friday September 28, 2012Mann Hits Career and Season Highs as No. 12 Florida Volleyball Stalls South Carolina, 3-1

Columbia, S.C.

Photo: Gorman Findley

Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) had one of the best matches of her career, hitting a season-high .621 with a career-high 20 kills to help the No. 12 University of Florida volleyball team defeat South Carolina, 3-1, on the road Friday evening.

 

Mann’s 20 kills best her phenomenal performances last November on the road at LSU and Arkansas, where she tallied 18 and 19 kills, respectively. The Gainesville native’s 22.0 points is also a new career high.

 

“Chloe was lights out and I think when someone has the hot hand, you have to get them the ball,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I have to give South Carolina a lot of credit. They responded without using their best player (Juliette Thevenin) and were able to come out and win that third set and really gave us a match.”

 

Florida hit .410 in the match with 9.0 blocks, holding South Carolina to a .260 offensive efficiency and the SEC’s leading point-scorer, Thevenin, to just five kills. The Gators (10-2, 4-0 SEC) remain the only unbeaten team in league play, while South Carolina dropped its first match at home this season, moving to 13-3 on the year and 2-3 in SEC action.

 

Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) narrowly missed her season high with 52 assists on the night, adding two service aces against the Gamecocks. Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) hit .500 with 10 kills and five blocks, while Mann added four block assists and freshman Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) registered three solo blocks, the most by a Gator since Dec. 3, 2011 (Kristy Jaeckel, at UNI).

 

Freshman outside hitter Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) just missed a double-double with 17 kills and nine digs, while sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) turned in a match-high 17 digs on the night. Sophomores Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) combined for 19 digs against South Carolina,

 

The Gators had a slow start to open the first set, finding themselves down early, 3-1. Florida began to chip away at the South Carolina lead, as a long rally led to a point for the Gators and the score tied at 6-6. The Orange and Blue continued to swing away and a Recek kill from the back row put the Gators ahead, 8-6. A solo stuff for Mallette continued the Florida run, 9-7.

 

Another long rally won by Florida forced South Carolina’s first timeout of the set at 14-9. A Brauneis quick set to the middle allowed Mann to swing on an open net to go ahead, 19-12. Out of the second SC timeout, Florida continued to surge, as a Brauneis ace and a Mann-Wiggs stuff block put the Gators up 10, 22-12. A Recek kill gave Florida its largest lead of the match at 23-13 and a Gamecock service error gave the Gators the first set, 25-14.

 

South Carolina began the second stanza similar to the first, jumping out to a two-point lead early. A kill off the quick set from Brauneis allowed Mann to swing through the seam in the block, putting Florida within one, down 8-7. A stuff block by Smith and Wiggs tied the set at 9-9. A Smith kill tied the stanza again at 11-all but a Gamecock 3-1 run forced a Gator timeout with Florida down 14-12.

 

Out of the break, the Gators went on a 4-0 run behind the serve of Brauneis, and an ace by the junior setter forced a Gamecock timeout with the Gators leading, 16-14. Florida kept the two-point advantage late in the second set, as a service error by the Gamecocks forced SC to call their second timeout of the set, Florida up 21-19. A Mallette kill out of the timeout extended the Gator advantage, 22-19, and a slide kill by Smith put Florida within two of the set, 23-20. The Gamecocks didn’t lose their fight though and South Carolina went on a 2-0 run to close the gap to 23-22 and force a Gator timeout. A Mann kill set up set point for Florida at 24-22 and another Mann swing tilted the set in Florida’s favor, 25-23.

 

Florida jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the third set, but South Carolina wasn’t about to back down, going on a 3-0 run to lead the Gators, 6-4. A Recek kill briefly stopped the South Carolina surge, but the Gamecocks continued to roll, going ahead 12-5 behind the serve of Bethanie Thomas. A Wiggs kill halted the SC run and an ace by Pole closed the gap, UF down 13-8. Pole’s tricky jump float kept the SC serve receive on their toes, as Florida cut the Gamecock lead to just two with a Wiggs-Mann stuff block, UF down 13-11.

 

The Florida roof forced a South Carolina timeout and the teams continued to battle out of the break, as Florida pulled within one, 16-15, off a Smith slide kill, and again at 17-16 with a Mallette solo block. A Mann-Wiggs stuff block kept the Gators close, down 20-18. A Mann slam that landed well in front of the 10-foot line kept Florida within striking distance, UF down 21-19. A Gamecock blocking error kept the Gators in the set, with Florida down 23-21, but SC took the set, 25-21, off a block by Cara Howley.

 

The Gators jumped out to a 5-1 lead in set four, courtesy of two big swings by redshirt freshman Simone Antwi (Fairfax Station, Va.). Brauneis and Antwi then teamed up for a stuff block to go ahead, 7-2. A Recek kill through the seam of the block continued the Gator momentum, 8-3. A solo block by Mallette, her third of the night, put the Gators ahead of the Gamecocks, 11-3. A Wiggs out-of-system kill continued the Gators’ surge, 14-7.

 

A Gamecock hitting error forced a timeout by the home team as the Gators led, 16-7. South Carolina was not about to let the match slip away and their outsides continued to hit the corners, as the Gamecocks closed the gap at 21-16 and forced a Gator timeout. Kills by Recek and Wiggs set up match point for Florida and an Unroe service ace sealed the win for the Gators, 25-17.

 

The Gators continue their road swing, traveling to Starkville to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m. ET at the Newell-Grissom Building with live stats and video available on GatorZone.com. Cory Stephens will be live with the call between Florida and Mississippi State on Country 103.7 The Gator.

 

For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please log on to www.gatorzone.com/volleyball or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida volleyball on Twitter at @GatorZoneVB or www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at @GatorMary or www.twitter.com/GatorMary. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.

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