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The Gators were tested early and emerged victorious in a five-set thriller against Oklahoma Saturday (Photo: Jim Burgess)

Saturday August 30, 2014No. 10 UF Volleyball Caps Off Undefeated Weekend With Five-Set Thriller Over Oklahoma

The Gators were tested early and emerged victorious in a five-set thriller against Oklahoma Saturday (Photo: Jim Burgess)

Box Score

 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gator fans in the O’Connell Center Saturday got a special show from the No. 10 Florida volleyball team, as the Orange and Blue rallied through five sets to down Oklahoma, 3-2, in the final match of UF’s opening-weekend Active Ankle Challenge and emerge an undefeated 3-0.

 

After Oklahoma opened with a 25-22 first-set victory, it took a 28-26 decision for the Gators to square the match after the second frame. UF (25-12) and OU (25-22) traded sets in the third and fourth, but sophomore right side and tournament MVP Alex Holston took over in the fifth with four kills, a .667 clip and two blocks to seal the deal for the Gators with a 15-8 edge. Middles Rhamat Alhassan and Simone Antwi also represented the Orange and Blue on the Active Ankle Challenge All-Tournament Team, Alhassan after hitting .600 with 23 kills, just two errors and 13 blocks (1.30/s) in UF’s opening weekend, and Antwi with 30 kills, a .418 hitting efficiency and seven blocks.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

·         798: wins for head coach Mary Wise (798-147, .844), just two victories away from the 800-win milestone. Wise will be the fifth Division I female head coach -- and the only active female head coach -- to reach 800 career victories

·         .600: hitting efficiency of freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan though three matches. Alhassan had her best match of the weekend, both offensively and defensively, against Idaho, registering a .812 clip and six blocks

·         51: assists for junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino, a new career high. Dagostino’s five blocks were additionally a career-best output

·         28.0: blocks for the Gators this weekend, including 13.0 against Oklahoma. On the flip side, UF opponents had 18.0

·         19: kills for sophomore right side Alex Holston, two shy of her career high 21. Holston also has seven blocks (0.64/s) and is tied with senior Taylor Unroe for the team lead with five service aces thus far in 2014 (0.45/s)

·         13.0: the most team blocks for a Gators squad in a five-set match since Nov. 3 of last season. Florida has  2.55 blocks/s after this weekend’s matches

·         12.0: points for junior outside hitter Noami Santos-Lamb, a new career best after a career-best 12 kills in UF’s five-set win

·         11: kills for freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder, who is averaging 2.0 kills/s, 16 total, in eight sets played as a Gator

·         4: Gators with double-digit kills (Holston: 19, Antwi: 13, Santos-Lamb: 12, Snyder: 11)

·         3: senior defensive specialists with double-digit digs, including 18 from Holly Pole, two shy of her career best 20, 17 from Taylor Unroe and 11 from Maddy Monserez

·         .082: The average hitting efficiency of UF’s opponents in the Active Ankle Challenge. Idaho was most efficient against Florida with a .158 clip

 

GETTING WISE

“I think the story of today was really our three seniors and their stabilizing play for us, Nikki (O’Rourke) as well. We think that, before the season has ended, that nucleus of those four will have a chance to be some of the best back-row defenders in a collective group that we’ve ever had.”

 

On the senior defensive specialists and versatility at the libero position:

“She (Holly Pole) was passing so well, so to have her out there for five and a half rotations, instead of three, just made a lot of sense. We knew we were going to do this this year, at least we have the opportunity to do it. Thursday night could be Taylor (Unroe), it could be Holly again, it could be Maddy (Monserez). That’s the beauty of the three of them. They’re different, but so close in so many different skills. When Holly was feeling it -- like a basketball player is feeling it and you want to give them the ball -- we needed Holly out there for those five and a half rotations.”

 

On the play of MVP Alex Holston:

“We knew we’d have to ride her arm. It didn’t matter what her numbers were last night. It’s like a basketball team, if you have an off night, you just have to come back and keep shooting. Alex has developed the shooter’s mentality. I don’t think anybody in the arena doubted the ball was going to her and she still delivered.”

 

ACTIVE ANKLE CHALLENGE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Alex Holston, Florida – MVP

Simone Antwi, Florida

Rhamat Alhassan, Florida

Julia Doyle, Oklahoma

Madison Ward, Oklahoma

Kym Coley, Georgia Southern

Katelyn Peterson, Idaho

 

UP FOR THE CHALLENGE

·         The Gators have a loaded non-conference schedule, as six of Florida’s first eight matches have been, or are, against opponents ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Preseason Top 25 (in order of schedule): Oklahoma (rv), No. 13 FSU, No. 2 Texas, No. 14 San Diego, No. 5 USC & Marquette (rv)

·         Seven of Florida’s first eight opponents made the 2013 NCAA Tournament: add Georgia Southern to the above list. The Eagles were in the Gainesville sub regional last December

 

UP NEXT

Up next, the Orange and Blue will head west to Tallahassee for their first road test of the season, and first clash with a ranked opponent, when Florida meets No. 13 Florida State at Tully Gym. First serve between the Gators and Seminoles is slated for 6 p.m. FSU defeated No. 7 Nebraska, 3-1, Friday in Lincoln and will take on Iowa State Sunday before the Gators head to town.

 

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