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Friday November 9, 2012No. 16 Gator Volleyball Earns 14th Sweep of 2012 over Mizzou

Columbia, Mo.

The No. 16 Florida volleyball team inched one match closer to their hopes of an SEC title with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-19) sweep of the Missouri Tigers on Friday evening at the Hearnes Center. The Gators move to 20-4 on the season and 14-1 in the SEC while the Tigers fell to 17-9 in 2012 and 8-7 in conference play.

 

Three-time SEC Freshman of the Week Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) turned in 17 kills against the Tigers, hitting .405 on the night. In the backrow, sophomore defensive specialist Holly Pole (Ocala, Fla.) registered one of the best nights of her young career with a match-high 12 digs despite only playing three rotations.

 

“I can’t say enough about the performances of our younger players tonight,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Of course, Živa’s kills stand out and she’s had a phenomenal year. If the season ended today, we’d be talking about how Živa had one of the best freshman seasons in program history.

 

“I think you also have to mention Holly Pole’s play tonight,” Wise continued. “She was great on defense and serve receive. I think tonight was one of the best matches of her career. She’s been playing on a different level recently. It’s like the game has slowed down for her and she just sees everything so well.”

 

Middle blockers Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) notched 10 and nine kills, respectively, while setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 40 assists and added five kills of her own.

 

The Gators hit .368 in the three-set sweep, marking the ninth time this year that Florida has hit above .350. Freshman outside hitter Berkley Whaley (St. Petersburg, Fla.) aided the Gators’ offensive efforts, hitting an errorless four kills on seven swings.

 

Florida took the opening frame, 25-17. The teams battled to open the set, with a solo stuff by Brauneis and a Mann-Wiggs roof tying the frame at 3-3. A smart tip by Whaley and an Unroe service ace force the Tigers to take timeout, 9-6. A Recek slam down the line took the score to 16-10 and a Mizzou error forced the second Tiger timeout of the stanza, 17-10.

 

Mizzou scored two straight out of the timeout but the Gators stayed the course and a Mann smash out of the middle halted the Tigers’ streak, 18-12. A Smith slam out of system got the Gators to the double-decade mark at 20-14. Recek tipped over the Tiger block to set up set point, 24-17, and another Recek kill through the seam of the Mizzou block gave the first set to the Orange and Blue, 25-17.

 

The Gators clinched the second set, 25-16. The second stanza opened similarly to the first, with the lead changing constantly in the opening points. A Brauneis dumped kill sparked a 4-0 Florida rally to lead 6-3. The Gators continued to roll and capitalized on a Tiger hitting error to jump ahead, 9-4, and force Mizzou’s first timeout of the second frame. A Mann solo stuff and kills by Mann and Wiggs put Florida up 13-6 as the Tigers burned their final timeout of the set.

 

A Tiger ace cut the Gator lead to four, 14-10, forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators picked it up out of the break and got to the double-decade mark with a Brauneis ace, 20-13. A tip off the block for Whaley set up set point for the Gators, 24-16, and a Mizzou hitting error sealed the second stanza for Florida, 25-16.

 

The third stanza was a back-and-forth affair but the Gators came out on top, 25-19. A tip by Wiggs evened the frame at 4-4 but Mizzou scored two straight to lead 6-4 in the third stanza. A Tiger kill gave Missouri an 8-5 lead in the early going but a Recek kill down the pipe stopped the MU run, down 8-6. A Brauneis-Smith block put the Gators back in the lead, 9-8. Kills by Smith and Brauneis gave Florida a two-point advantage, 11-9. The Tigers scored three straight to take a 12-11 lead but the Gators answered with two of their own to get ahead, 13-12.

 

A Mann slam off the Brauneis quick set gave Florida a slight edge in the set and a Recek ace put the Florida lead at two, 15-13. Back-to-back Gator errors knotted the set once again, 15-all. A Wiggs overpass kill and ensuing Mizzou error kept the Gators out in front, 18-16. Monserez served up an ace out of the Mizzou timeout to take a three-point lead, 19-16. A Tiger hitting error forced Mizzou’s second timeout of the set, 21-17. A kill off the block for Recek gave the Gators match point, 24-19, and a Mann tip into the campfire defense sealed the set and the match for the Orange and Blue, 25-19.

 

Florida travels to Oxford, Miss to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Sunday afternoon. First serve is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 850/900 with Cory Stephens on the call.

 

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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