Thursday September 12, 2013No. 5 Gators Return Home to Host Active Ankle Challenge
Photo: Brendan Maloney
Photo: Brendan Maloney
The No. 5 Florida volleyball team returns home to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to host the third annual Active Ankle Challenge. The Gators welcome Georgetown, Iona and Western Michigan to Gainesville, Friday-Saturday, September 13-14.
Florida faces Georgetown Friday evening at 7 p.m. ET and turns around to match up with Iona at 12 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon and Western Michigan in the finale of the event at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday night.
Last Time Out: The Florida volleyball team traveled to the Lone Star State for a three-match road swing that saw the Gators go 2-1 with victories over UTSA (3-0) and then-No. 2 Stanford (3-1), before falling to then-No. 1 Penn State on the final day of the Nike Big Four Classic. For their efforts over the week, the Gators were rewarded with the No. 5 ranking in the latest American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) poll. It marks the first time the Gators were in the top five since November 29, 2010 when Florida was the top seed heading into the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
All in the Family: Gator senior Taylor Brauneis will see a familiar face across the net Friday night, as little sister Caitlin will be directing the Georgetown offense against the Gators. This is the first time in Gator Volleyball history that two sisters have faced each other as opponents. Read more as Scott Carter previews “The Match”
Defense Doing Work: Florida had five players in double-digit digs against Stanford, the first time since Florida’s five-set defeat to Tennessee last season (November 4, 2012). Florida has a .955 reception percentage, their second-highest in the last five seasons.
Hoya to Watch: Junior middle blocker Dani White earned All-Tournament Team honors at the DC Challenge where she totaled 32 kills and a team-high 12 blocks. White leads the team with 32 total blocks and is third on the team in kills with 75, just six behind the team leader.
Gael to Watch: Junior outside hitter Taylor Cembalisty is tied for first on the team with 42 kills and is hitting .197, leading the Gaels with 52.5 total points. Cembalisty was named to All-Tournament Team for the 2013 Pepperdine Asics Classic, the team’s first tournament of the year. The junior posted her first double-double of the year with 10 kills and 12 digs in a loss to Cornell at the Big Red Invitational
Bronco to Watch: Sophomore middle blocker Stephenee Yancy earned Mid-American Conference (MAC) Offensive Player of the Week and was named to the All-Tournament Team for play during the Holiday Inn West Bronco Classic. Yancy led all players with 59 total kills, 4.54 kills per set and a .465 hitting percentage. Yancy was also named Louisiana Tech Invitational’s Most Valuable Player and currently leads the team in kills (112) and points (123.0).
All-Time: Florida is facing Georgetown and Iona for the first time in program history. The Gators own a 1-0 record over Western Michigan since the renewal of the program in 1984, sweeping the Broncos in 1999 in the O’Connell Center.
On The Horizon: Shortly after the Active Ankle Challenge, 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.
Preseason Buzz: Florida was picked to win the Southeastern Conference title in a preseason vote of the league’s coaches, while senior middle blocker Chloe Mann and sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek were named Preseason All-SEC. Mann was also recently named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award.
They’re Back: Florida returns 11 letterwinners and five starters from a year ago, including First Team All-American Mann, AVCA National Freshman of the Year Recek, AVCA Honorable Mention All-American setter Taylor Brauneis, 2013 SEC All-Freshman Team selection Gabby Mallette and 2012 SEC All-Freshman Team honoree Taylor Unroe.
Lights, Camera, Action: Florida will be on television 12 times during the course of the 2013 regular season, the most of any Southeastern Conference program. The Gators’ next televised match is Friday, October 4 at home against Texas A&M.
Mary’s Minute: “Major props to the Alamo City Gator Club, who came out at 4 p.m. on a Thursday to cheer us on against UTSA. It was a scheduled event and there were folks taking time away from their regular responsibilities. Texas has been good to the Gators over the years and the turnout on that Thursday was no different…But there is nothing like playing in the O’Connell Center.”
On Chloe Mann’s Jersey Retirement at Eastside High School… (Scott Carter’s blog)
“It should be a thrill for her and I know she’s excited that Eastside would take that opportunity to recognize her accomplishments. They’re doing so not only with her volleyball skills but what she’s accomplished in the classroom as well. We’ll be doing the same thing someday as well.”
Mary by the Numbers:
At Florida: 691-81
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.
Friday, September 13
5:00 P.M. Western Michigan vs. Iona Live Stats
Saturday, September 14
10:00 A.M. Georgetown vs. Western Michigan Live Stats
5:30 P.M. Iona vs. Georgetown Live Stats