Thursday September 19, 2013No. 4 Gators Travel to Wisconsin for Marquette Invitational
The No. 4 Florida volleyball team hits the road for the final time in non-conference action, heading to Milwaukee for the Marquette Invitational. The Gators face the host Golden Eagles at 8 p.m. ET Friday, September 20 before taking on Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, September 21.
Last Time Out: The No. 4 Gators swept in-state rival Florida State, 3-0 (25-20, 26-24, 25-23), Tuesday night. The Seminoles, ranked 17th in the latest AVCA poll, had no answer for senior middle blocker Chloe Mann and sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek, who both tallied 12 kills on the night. Freshman right-side hitter Alex Holston turned in six kills on .462 hitting to go along with four blocks, while sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi stuffed a career-high seven blocks.
Golden Eagle to Watch: Autumn Bailey is averaging 4.13 kills per set for Marquette and has taken over 100 swings more than any of her teammates. She’s also second on the team in digs (84) and leads the team in points (139.5).
Panther to Watch: Rachel Neuberger has played in all 39 sets for the Panthers, tallying 114 kills and hitting .340. She’s getting most of the work done defensively for Milwaukee as well, stuffing .87 blocks/set.
All-Time: The Gators lead the all-time series against the Golden Eagles, sweeping Marquette in both meetings. The last matchup between Florida and Marquette came in 2006 with the Gators winning 3-0. Florida and Milwaukee will be competing against each other for the first time in program history.
Mary’s Minute: “We play Marquette, a team whose only losses have come to ranked teams. They play very well at home and are so well-coached. They’re an NCAA Tournament team and it should be a great matchup for us. We have a quick turnaround and play Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a team we don’t know a lot about. It’s a great learning opportunity for us to get that Friday-Saturday turnaround, just like what you’re asked to do in the NCAA Tournament. In NCAAs, if you win on Friday, you have to turn around and play a team you’re not familiar with, you’ve never seen and your team has to rise to the challenge. Hopefully we’ll be a better team after the three matches this week and be ready as we head into conference play.”
Mary by the Numbers:
At Florida: 695-81
Records: Florida: 9-1, Marquette: 5-3, Wisconsin-Milwaukee: 4-6
NCAA Numbers: Senior Chloe Mann is second in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.493), while the Gators are third in the nation with a .331 offensive clip. Senior setter Taylor Brauneis is 12th in assists (11.59/set) and 15th in aces (.56/set).
Defense Doing Work: The Florida defense had one of its best weekends of the year at the Active Ankle Challenge, as libero Taylor Unroe averaged 4.70 digs/set over the weekend. Sophomore Nikki O’Rourke made the most of her minutes, averaging 2.60 digs/set in just three rotations. Junior Holly Pole was right behind her, turning in a 2.50 dig/set average over the weekend. The Gators 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). UF has a .968 reception percentage, their second-highest in the last five seasons.
Not On Our Watch: Florida has forced six of its 10 opponents to operate at under .200 hitting efficiency. The Gators held the Hoyas to -.090 offensive clip last Friday, the second time this season a Florida opponent hit negative. Iona nearly hit negative against Florida on Saturday, tallying an .087 hitting percentage.
On The Horizon: Florida starts SEC play in the Magnolia State against Mississippi State (Fri., Sept. 27 – 8 p.m. ET) and Ole Miss (Sun., Sept. 29 – 2:30 p.m. ET). After the Gators’ participation in the Marquette Invitational, Florida will not see a non-conference opponent until the postseason.
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 and is representing the Gators with a blog on ESPNW.
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, 2011 SEC All-Freshman Team honoree Taylor Unroe and sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette.
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.
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 20
Saturday, September 21