Wiggs sets record as UF volleyball sweeps MSU
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 26, 2012 at 10:51 p.m.
Friday's Southeastern Conference match between league-leader Florida and cellar-dweller Mississippi State went as one would expect, with the 11th-ranked Gators sweeping the Bulldogs, 25-11, 25-8, 25-11, in a matter of an hour and 11 minutes.
As it turned out, the O'Connell Center crowd of 1,770 witnessed history.
Redshirt senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs set a UF school record with a .929 hitting percentage, breaking Benavia Jenkins' previous all-time mark of .923 set against Central Florida in 2002.
“Not too shabby,” said UF coach Mary Wise. “Not too shabby at all.”
Wiggs deferred to take total credit.
“My hitting percentage is solely a reflection of my passers and my setter,” she said. “I am blessed to have a really great setter in Taylor Brauneis. She does a really great job of distributing the ball and getting me good looks, and our passers do a great job. I think I have the easy job.”
Wiggs entered the match ranked second in the SEC with a .385 hitting mark, trailing only teammate and middle blocker Chloe Mann's league-leading percentage of .455.
While Mann, a redshirt junior and former Eastside standout, certainly did her part, hitting .727 with eight kills and no errors in 11 attempts, Wiggs was unstoppable. She finished with a match-high 13 kills on 14 swings without an error.
The win, which came 48 hours after UF had its 14-match winning streak stopped by No. 12 FSU in Tallahassee, improved the Gators to 18-3 overall and kept them perfect (12-0) in SEC play.
“After losing Wednesday to Florida State, we just came back and regrouped and made sure we were playing Florida volleyball every match,” Wiggs said. “I thought we did a great job of that tonight, focusing on our side of the net and things we can control and ways we can improve.”
Offensively, the Gators recorded 36 kills with only six errors in 66 attempts for a .455 team hitting mark, while defensively, they totaled 10 blocks, with freshman outside hitters Gabby Mallette and Ziva Recek each picking up two solos and Mann adding a match-high four assists.
UF held the Bulldogs (4-17, 0-12), who lost their 13th match in a row, to a hitting percentage of minus-.141.
“We just worked really hard in practice to take care of the little things,” Mann said. “We executed at a really high level. I'm really proud of our team and the way we came out today focused, especially coming after a loss.”
The Gators do not play again until they host Georgia and defending SEC champ Tennessee in a pair of key SEC matches next weekend.
“The schedule really helps us now, in terms of being a little banged up, to have Sunday off,” Wise said. “Georgia is arguably the most improved team in the league and Tennessee was the preseason favorite. It's a huge weekend.”
Meanwhile, the injury news concerning redshirt senior Betsy Smith, who injured her right ankle against FSU and did not dress out for Friday's match, is encouraging.
“We're sometime away, but it could have been worse,” Wise said. “At least it wasn't broken.”