No. 18 Florida volleyball falls to Stanford

Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 12:11 a.m.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The No. 18 University of Florida volleyball team (3-2, 0-0 SEC) put up a fight against perennial power No. 9 Stanford. After a first set victory for the Gators, the Cardinal took over and defeated Florida in four sets (25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 16-25) Saturday on the final day of the Nike Big Four Classic.

Freshman Živa Recek led the way once again for the Gators with 15 kills on the afternoon, tallying 16.5 points overall. Both junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Eastside) and senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs registered 13 kills for the Gators on Saturday, as Wiggs hit .522 with just one error against the Card. Freshman Simone Antwi tallied 9.5 points against Stanford, including eight kills.

Junior setter Taylor Brauneis dished out 50 assists for Florida, narrowly missing a double-double with seven digs. The Gators’ backrow defense was anchored by sophomores Taylor Unroe and Madison Monserez , who combined for 24 digs on the afternoon. Unroe continued her perfect serve-receive streak and added two service aces for UF, as the Gators registered three aces to the Cardinal’s one

The Gators started the first set much the way they began Friday’s match, with a kill through the seam of the block by Recek. The teams traded points but Florida kept at least a two-point advantage throughout the early going, courtesy of some quick sets to middles Antwi and Mann. Unroe ripped an ace to give Florida a five-point edge and kept the momentum going with a clutch dig on the next play, setting the Gators up for a great kill by Recek at 13-7. A solo stuff block by Wiggs forced the Cardinal to take their second timeout of the set at 17-10. A one-handed dish from Brauneis left a wide open net for Mann and gave the Gators momentum to win the next long rally and get ahead of the Cardinal, 19-11.

Stanford went on a 4-0 run behind the serve of Kyle Gilbert and forced a Florida timeout at 19-15. Out of the timeout, freshman Gabby Mallette killed it down the line to stop the Stanford surge, 20-15. Three quick points by the Cardinal forced another Gator timeout at 21-18. An Antwi kill at the end of a long rally and an ensuing kill by Wiggs made it set point for the Gators at 24-20. Wiggs came from the middle once again to give the Gators the first set victory, 25-22.

Unroe ripped her second ace of the match to begin the second stanza and persistent backcourt defense pushed the Gators ahead early in the set, 8-4, forcing a Stanford timeout. The Cardinal used the pause in play to their advantage, going on a 3-0 run to pull within one, 8-7. The Gators used a timeout after the Cardinal tied things up with a block at 9-9. Stanford continued to surge but kills by rookies Recek and Whaley put Florida within one with the Gators down 13-12.

An overpass kill by Inky Ajanaku put the Cardinal ahead 16-13, a three-point advantage Stanford kept through much of the end of the second set. Florida called timeout after a Morgan Boukather kill and Stanford continued to surge ahead, 22-17. A rookie roof by Antwi and Recek pulled the Gators back within three, 22-19. Antwi and Wiggs teamed up for another stuff to make it Stanford up 23-20. Wiggs then smartly tooled the Cardinal block to get the kill and force a Stanford timeout with the Card leading, 23-21. A Recek kill down the pipe put Florida within one, 24-22. Wiggs was stuffed to end the second set and tie the match at one set apiece, as Stanford took the second set by the same score as the first, 25-22.

Stanford jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead to start the third stanza but Recek nailed one inside the block to put Florida on the scoreboard, down 2-1. The teams traded serve and tied the set at 5-5 off an overpass kill by Antwi, set up by a bullet serve by Unroe. The Gators took the lead off an Antwi kill at 7-6 but Stanford surged, pulling ahead 11-9. A monster kill by Mann closed the gap and a Stanford hitting error tied things up at 11-11. The Cardinal kept the momentum and a kill by Jordan Burgess forced a Florida timeout as Stanford led at 15-12.

Florida pulled within one at 16-15 with a tip by Antwi but Stanford continued to use the gaps behind the block to pull ahead, going up 19-16. The teams continued to battle but a Florida hitting error forced their second timeout of the set, down 21-17. Recek tooled the block to put the Gators back on the scoreboard down 22-18. A Swalchick hitting error set the Cardinal up with set point but a Stanford hitting error kept the Gators in it the set, 24-20. A dumped kill by setter Madi Bugg gave Stanford the set at 25-20.

Recek continued to swing away in the fourth, notching the first kill of the set for Florida to tie the stanza at 1-1. The Cardinal then went on a 4-0 run to force a Florida timeout at 5-1. A Recek kill from Monserez stopped the streak and a Stanford error put the Gators within two at 5-3. Stanford put together four quick points to inch away, 9-4. Mann slammed three straight kills to force a Cardinal timeout as the Gators pulled within two, 11-9. Smith tipped one behind the block to continue to keep Florida close at 14-12. Wiggs had a slam from the X play out of the middle, keeping Florida within two at 15-13.

The Gators pulled within one courtesy of a Cardinal hitting error and continued to pressure Stanford at 16-15. The Card surged to score four quick points and extend their lead at 20-16, forcing a Florida timeout. Stanford’s streak continued, pulling ahead 22-16 off a few Gator miscues. The Cardinal fired off six straight points to close the match, 25-16, ending the set on a stuff block.

Next up for Florida is a Labor Day exhibition match against the Slovenian Junior National Team. First serve is set for 4 p.m. ET on Monday afternoon. Admission is free for the matchup.

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