Wednesday November 7, 2012No. 16 Gators Travel to Missouri and Ole Miss
The No. 16 Florida volleyball team (19-4, 13-1 SEC) embarks on one of their final road trips of the season, taking on Missouri and Ole Miss this weekend.
The Gators have a three-match lead in the Southeastern Conference standings entering this week’s action, as Florida hits the road to play the Tigers and the Rebels for a second time in 2012. The Gators travel to Mizzou for the first time in program history, facing off against the Tigers at the Hearnes Center on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Orange and Blue take on the Rebels in Oxford at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. The Gators swept both the Tigers and the Rebels earlier in the season.
Last weekend, the Gators swept the Georgia Bulldogs, 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-14), behind 14.5 points from junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) and a double-double from SEC Freshman of the Week Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia), who tallied 12 kills and a match-high 11 digs.
On Sunday, the Gators dropped a five-set heartbreaker to the 2011 SEC Champion Tennessee Lady Volunteers (25-17, 21-25, 29-27, 23-25, 19-17). Florida was once again led by Recek, who tallied her sixth career double-double with career highs in both kills (26) and digs (20), the first Gator to register 20+ kills and digs since Kisya Killingsworth recorded 23 kills and 20 digs on Sept. 17, 2006 at South Carolina. Recek added three blocks for 27.5 points on the afternoon.
Mann registered 19 kills on a .567 hitting percentage to go along with a team-high five blocks against the Lady Vols, while seniors Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) tallied 14 kills apiece, combining for seven blocks on the afternoon. Junior Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) had a career day, dishing out an all-time career-high 67 assists, turning in her second double-double of her Gator career with 12 digs.
Sophomore defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) shined for the Gators on Sunday, setting a new career high with 23 digs, the first time this season and third time in her career to lead Florida in that category. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) joined Monserez and Recek in the double-decade digs column with 20 of her own on Sunday, turning in two perfect passing matches on the weekend as well.
Brauneis continues to lead the SEC in assists (11.49/set), while Mann leads the conference and is third in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.455), and is also fifth in the league in blocks (1.08/set). Wiggs is second in the SEC and 19th in the nation (.390) in hitting percentage and Smith is 10th in the SEC (.322), making three Gators in the top 10. Florida leads the league in hitting percentage (.304), good for fourth in the NCAA, and service aces (1.44/set), while ranking second in kills/set (14.25).
Missouri has won two straight coming into Friday’s matchup, sweeping both South Carolina and non-conference opponent Arkansas State in the last week. The Gators have only faced the Tigers twice in program history, both matches coming within the last calendar year. In addition to the 3-0 sweep in September at the O’Dome, Florida defeated Mizzou, 3-1, in the programs’ first-ever meeting (12/2/11, NCAA First Round at UNI). Missouri leads the SEC in blocking with 2.76 blocks/set and is second in the league in hitting percentage (.264)
Ole Miss has gone 2-3 in their last five matches, defeating Missouri in four and sweeping SEC Eastern foe South Carolina, both at Gillom Sports Center. The Rebels have one of the best setters in the league in senior Amanda Philpot. The senior is having a tremendous final campaign for the Rebs, recording an SEC-leading two triple-doubles this season. Ole Miss features a freshman middle-blocking duo in Nakeyta Clair and Ty Laporte who will both prove to be formidable in years to come in Oxford.
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