Thursday October 31, 2013No. 5 Gators Hit the Road to LSU and Texas A&M for Final SEC Road Weekend
The No. 5 Florida volleyball team embarks on its final SEC road weekend of the 2013 season, traveling to LSU and Texas A&M. The Gators and the Tigers match up at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, November 1 in Baton Rouge before the Aggies host the Orange and Blue at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 3.
ESPNU will air Sunday’s match between the Gators and the Aggies live with Sam Gore and Jennifer Hoffman on the call. Both matches air live on ESPN 850/GatorZone.com and Friday’s tilt at LSU is available for viewing on GatorVision.
Last Time Out: The No. 5 Florida volleyball team swept both opponents on the weekend, taking down Auburn and Tennessee in three sets to stay unbeaten at home in 2013. Against Auburn, junior libero Taylor Unroe led the back-row charge for the Gators with 17 digs, while senior middle blocker Chloe Mann helped lead UF’s offensive efforts with a .562 clip, including nine kills, to rack up 10.5 points on the evening. Sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi collected a team-high 14.0 points behind a team-best 11 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Živa Recek was two kills shy of a double-double with eight slams and 14 digs for UF. Against Tennessee, Recek had a hot hand for the Gators Sunday with a team-high 16 points, tallying 14 kills and three blocks in the sweep. Recek notched a .857 hitting efficiency in the first set along with six of her 14 slams. Sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette hit .444 and chipped in with nine kills and a solo stuff for 10 points. Freshman right side Alex Holston tied Mallette with nine kills, second most for the Gators Saturday in the sweep.
Chloe’s a “Mann”ster: Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann is hitting .470 for her career and is the Florida career record holder in the category. The reigning SEC Player of the Year is the NCAA active leader in hitting percentage and sits just above the NCAA record holder in career hitting percentage, Penn State's Arielle Wilson (.468). Mann needs 116 more attempts to be eligible for the NCAA record (approx. 14.5 attacks/reg. season match).
NCAA Numbers: Senior Chloe Mann leads the NCAA in hitting percentage (.506), while the Gators are also second in the nation with a .334 offensive clip. Freshman right-side hitter Alex Holston is 13th in the nation with a .430 hitting percentage and senior setter Taylor Brauneis is seventh in assists (11.75/set).
Not On Our Watch: Florida has forced 17 of its 22 opponents to operate at under .200 hitting efficiency, including three offensive outputs at .000 and below. Florida’s defense improved steadily throughout Friday’s match as the Orange and Blue held Auburn to a .042 hitting efficiency, including an .029 clip in the second set and -.071 in the third. UF held Tennessee to a .108 hitting clip for the match Sunday, including just .030 in the third set.
Tiger to Watch: Junior setter Malorie Pardo leads the team and is ranked fourth in the SEC in assists with 10.61 per set. She has a team-leading 12 double-doubles, the latest of which came against Arkansas where she posted 51 assists and 13 digs. Earlier this year, she dished out a career-high 68 assists to go with 13 digs in a win over UC Davis.
Aggie to Watch: Senior setter Allie Sawatzky is one of top setters in the SEC, averaging 10.04 assists/set. A 6-2 lefty, Sawatzky has not missed a start at setter in her Aggie career and was named Preseason All-SEC, Texas A&M Invitational MVP and All-Tourney at the UTSA Classic and UND Classic.
Mary’s Minute: “Looking forward to heading to LSU, a great defensive team and a great middle blocker in Briana Holman, who is just a freshman. It’s always a great atmosphere down there. In Texas A&M, we still have to contend with senior Allie Sawatzky, a setter who has never missed a match in her career. She’s such an offensive threat for them and distributes the ball well. We’ve seen them once earlier this season but that doesn’t make playing them any easier.”
Mary by the Numbers:
At Florida: 706-82
Records: No. 5 Florida: 20-2 (9-1 SEC), LSU: 14-6 (4-4 SEC), Texas A&M: 11-9 (3-6 SEC)
All-Time: The Gators are 35-13 all-time against the Tigers, including 32-5 under Florida head coach Mary Wise. The Orange and Blue have never dropped a match to the Aggies and swept Texas A&M earlier this season. Last year at Reed Arena, the Gators pulled off a five-set thriller, coming back from down 0-2 to win the match 3-2 on ESPNU.
On The Horizon: The Gators enter their bye week and are off until they host South Carolina on Wednesday, November 13 on ESPNU. That match starts a stretch for Florida that sees the Gators playing five matches in eight days.
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 Sunday, November 3 at 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, November 1
Sunday, November 3