FLAGSTAFF, Ariz — The No. 8 Florida volleyball team fought until the very end with Northern Arizona, but the Lumberjacks came out victorious in five sets late Friday night.
Florida (4-3) dropped the first set 25-19 in a packed Rolle Activity Center, but battled back to take set 2, 25-22. Northern Arizona came back to win the third set, 25-20, and Florida forced a deciding set five after winning the fourth, 25-20. The Lumberjacks won the final set, 15-13, in a point-for-point battle.
Redshirt sophomore Holly Carlton posted a career-best 19 kills in the loss, followed by a 17-kill performance by both Rachael Kramer and Thayer Hall.
Kramer also had a day at the net, recording six blocks. Paige Hammons added four to that total and Thayer Hall and Taelor Kellum each pitched in three.
Allie Monserez dished out a season-best 47 assists and Allie Gregory finished with a career-high 22 digs.
The Gators are back in action Saturday against the Southern Illinois Salukis at 12 p.m. EST.
Earlier in the day, Florida started the Lumberjack Invitational on a high note, sweeping California State University Northridge.
Florida (4-2) controlled the first set, hitting .375 to win the frame 25-12. The Matadors battled back in the second set, but UF held on to secure the set 25-18.
The Gators once again looked in control during the third frame, hitting .522 to win the set, 25-12.
UF held CSUN to a .025 hitting percentage, the lowest allowed through the season thus far, while hitting .409 themselves as a whole – the best on the year.
“In a match where we have the size advantage, the stat line we would hope to see show up is blocks and it did today,” UF coach Mary Wise said. “This was one of our better blocking performances this early in the season.”
Thayer Hall and Holly Carlton led the way offensively for Florida, coming up with seven kills apiece. Rachael Kramer and Haley Warner were not far behind, both adding six kills of their own.
Soccer: No. 3 Florida State (6-0-1) scored with 2:11 remaining when Kristen McFarland tallied off a deflection in front of 3,379 fans in beating visiting Florida (2-4-1), the fifth consecutive match the Gators have been held scoreless. The Gators last scored in the 4-2 win versus Florida Atlantic on Aug. 19.
The match had a little bit of everything. With 38:53 remaining, play was suspended due to lightning in the area. UF played most of the second half with 10 players after Lais Araujo received her second yellow card. And the Gators saw Rachelle Smith leave with 18 minutes remaining with an injury.
“That was just epic,” Florida coach Becky Burleigh said. “It was heartbreaking as so much was stacked against us. Whether it was playing with 10 people, losing Rachelle (Smith) — you name it. We had chances to put one away. I really thought we were going to steal (a wi)] one.
“Credit Florida State for finding the back of the net. They have a really good team. They are ranked No. 3 right now, but in my mind, they are the best team in the country.
“Our ability to battle with that was quite a performance. We have to trust that the universe will reward us at some point.”
The Gators next play at 6 p.m. Sunday at UCF in Orlando.
Cross country: The Florida women’s cross country team collected a season-opening win while the men took silver at the UNF Invite. On the women’s side, all five of UF’s counted scorers placed inside the top 10, included a sweep of the top-four finishers in Jacksonville.
Junior Jessica Pascoe led the way with the top time for the Gators while redshirt junior Elisabeth Bergh took runner-up and seniors Caitlin McQuilkin-Bell and Morgan Hull followed right behind in third and fourth. Freshmen Imogen Barrett rounded out the top five with a seventh-place finish in her Gators debut.
While the men’s competition was closer, Florida earned runner-up behind top-15 finishes from all five scoring runners. The men finished second behind the host, North Florida.
Redshirt freshman Nick Deal clocked the fastest time for the Gators in his collegiate debut and placed fifth. Redshirt sophomore Colin Schaefer picked up a top-10 finish at nine. Redshirt junior Jack Guyton, redshirt sophomore Jesse Millson and redshirt junior Jack Rogers logged an 11-12-13 finish.