Thursday October 10, 2013No. 2 Florida Welcomes No. 15 Kentucky and Georgia for First Full SEC Home Weekend
Photo: Ron Irby
Photo: Ron Irby
The No. 2 Florida volleyball team returns home to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to host the No. 15 Kentucky Wildcats and longtime SEC foe Georgia. Sun Sports will air the match vs. Kentucky live at 6:30 p.m. ET with Bernie Guenther and Cecile Reynaud on the call. The Gators and the Wildcats are two of three remaining unbeatens in conference action.
Florida’s matchup with Georgia is set for 2 p.m. ET with Guenther and former Gator All-SEC selection Missy Whittemore calling the action live on CSS/CST.
Last Time Out: The Gators stayed undefeated in SEC play after 3-0 sweeps of Texas A&M and on the road at Alabama. Against the Aggies, sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi tallied a match-high 12 kills on 19 swings for a .632 hitting percentage, adding two blocks to lead all players with a match-high 13.5 points. Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann was also errorless on the night, hitting a match-high .643 with nine kills on 14 swings for her seventh error-free performance of 2013. Freshman outside hitter Alex Holston turned in her eighth match of the season hitting at .400 and above. The Gator rookie hit .474 with 10 kills on 19 swings. The victory also marked Florida head coach Mary Wise’s 700th win at the helm of the Gator program. Mann hit .737 at Alabama with 14 errorless kills on 19 attempts. Two Gator sophomores also churned out double-digit kills Sunday, as Antwi and sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Antwi hit .588 against Alabama while Mallette hit .600 against the Crimson Tide. Holston had her ninth .400+ performance of the year with her .727 output (8-0-11).
Serve for the Cure: Friday’s match vs. Kentucky is Florida’s Serve for the Cure match. All in attendance are encouraged to join the players and staff in wearing pink and the first 500 fans will receive “Serve for the Cure” tank tops.
SEC Stud: Freshman Alex Holston earned SEC Freshman of the Week after registering one error the entire weekend, hitting .567 combined in Florida’s sweeps of Texas A&M and Alabama.
NCAA Numbers: Senior Chloe Mann is second in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.531), while the Gators are also second in the nation with a .349 offensive clip. Senior setter Taylor Brauneis is 11th in assists (11.62/set) and freshman right-side hitter Alex Holston broke into the top 20 with a .423 hitting percentage for 19th.
Not On Our Watch: Florida has forced 12 of its 16 opponents to operate at under .200 hitting efficiency, including three offensive outputs at .000 and below. The Gators held the Aggies to .172 offensive clip Friday night, including a -.107 in the first set. Florida then held Alabama to .155 Sunday, including -.040 in the second stanza.
Wildcat to Watch: Senior hitter Whitney Billings is fifth in the conference in kills and points, notching 3.69 kills/set and 4.36 points/set this season. Billings is averaging over a kill more than her freshman and sophomore campaigns and is leading Kentucky with 199 kills on the year.
Bulldog to Watch: Sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Eatmon is back for the Bulldogs after notching 155 kills as a freshman last season. Eatmon is hitting .354 as a sophomore with 1.83 kills/set. Defensively, Eatmon is averaging .70 blocks/set.
All-Time: The Gators are 46-10 all-time against the Wildcats, including 44-3 under Florida head coach Mary Wise. Florida won both matches against Kentucky last season, sweeping UK at Memorial Coliseum before winning a five-set thriller at the O’Dome. The Gators came back from down 0-2 against the Wildcats to defeat UK in five, 3-2. Against Georgia, Florida is 55-9, including 52-1 under Wise. The Gators have not lost to the Bulldogs since 2008 and haven’t dropped a set to UGA since the 2010 season, a match in which Wise earned her 700th career win.
Mary’s Minute: “Kentucky is a very talented team with all of their major point-producers returning from last year. They’re a veteran team with an impressive pre-conference schedule and had a lot of success with it. It will be a terrific match and our fans will love it because they’ll see high-level play both Friday and Sunday. With Georgia, they made some great strides last year and are building off of that. Two good matches against two good teams this weekend and the good news is that we’re at home and we hope to take advantage of that.”
Mary by the Numbers:
At Florida: 701-81
Records: No. 2 Florida: 15-1 (4-0 SEC), No. 15 Kentucky 12-3 (4-0 SEC), Georgia: 13-3 (3-1 SEC)
On The Horizon: Florida hits the road to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday, October 18 at 8 p.m. ET at Barnhill Arena. The Gators then look to challenge undefeated Missouri in Columbia at 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 20.
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, October 11
Live on Sun Sports (Cox: 48/1048; DirecTV: 649/653; Dish: 422/5422)
Sunday, October 13
Live on CSS/CST (Cox: 259)