Roundup: Volleyball clinches share of SEC title

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.

The No. 16 University of Florida volleyball team clinched at least a share of the 2012 Southeastern Conference championship on Friday evening, storming back from a first-set defeat to claim a 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-11, 25-13) victory over the LSU Tigers. The win puts the Gators (22-4, 16-1 SEC) in the driver’s seat of the SEC race, as Florida needs just one more victory to claim the conference crown outright.

Florida’s defense led the way on Friday night, as both the block and the back row kept the Gators neck-and-neck with the best digging defense in the SEC. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe led the way for Florida with a career-high 27 digs on the night, playing arguably one of the best matches of her career. Sophomore defensive specialist Holly Pole scooped 14 digs against the Tigers to go along with a match-high two service aces, both at crucial moments in the third stanza. Freshman outside hitter Živa Recek turned in her seventh double-double with 14 kills and 18 digs.

“Obviously, LSU played very well and came out with so much energy, and digging the way we know they can,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I thought we were very impatient. We probably showed more of the youth that is on our team that we would expect earlier on in the season than in November, but I think we were just a little bit anxious.”

Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann stuffed a career-high-tying seven blocks on the night and senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs roofed six blocks against the Tigers. Both Mann and Wiggs tallied eight kills apiece. Senior middle blocker Betsy Smith had a balanced performance with 11 kills on 20 swings (.400) and four blocks on the evening. Junior Taylor Brauneis dished out 38 assists to go along with five digs against the Tigers.

Cross Country: Florida’s women’s cross country squad, along with two men’s individual runners in junior Mark Parrish and sophomore Jimmy Clark, will embark on the 2012 NCAA Cross Country Championships at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville today, with races slated for noon and 1:15 p.m., respectively.

Thirty-one teams were selected to participate in each championship — the top two, seven-person teams automatically qualified from each of the nine regions for a total of 18 teams, while an additional 13 teams were selected at-large.

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