Florida predicted to finish first in SEC volleyball

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 1:21 p.m.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Florida volleyball team, ranked No. 10 in the AVCA Top-25 preseason poll, is the favorite to win the Southeastern Conference title by vote of the league’s head coaches, while a trio of Gator All-Americans in Alex Holston, Živa Recek and Taylor Unroe were named to the nine-person Preseason All-SEC Team, the conference announced Tuesday.

Florida received 12 of 13 first-place votes to top the preseason poll for the second consecutive season, while the Gators’ three preseason All-SEC selections were the most of any league institution.

The Gators went 28-4 a year ago and put together a 16-2 SEC slate to finish second in the league standings. Holston, Recek and Unroe -- the 2013 SEC Libero of the Year -- were each 2013 All-SEC and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honorees and will help lead a talented Florida squad that returns 12 letterwinners from last season and a wealth of talent with its five freshmen newcomers, including 6-4 middle Rhamat Alhassan who put on a MVP performance while leading the USA Volleyball Women’s Junior National Team to Gold at the U20 NORCECA Continental Championships this summer in Guatemala.

UF’s Fan Day is set for Saturday at the O’Connell Center Saturday, when the Gators’ intrasquad scrimmage will serve at 3:30 p.m. and the players will sign autographs immediately following from 5-6 p.m.

The volleyball season starts Aug. 29, when the Gators welcome Georgia Southern, Idaho and Oklahoma to town for the Active Ankle Challenge and Florida opens conference play on the road Sept. 26 with a tilt at Auburn.

2014 PRESEASON COACHES POLL (including points, first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Florida (12) 144

2. Kentucky 129

3. Missouri (1) 114

4. LSU 105

5. Alabama 102

6. Texas A&M 89

7. Arkansas 87

8. Georgia 65

9. Auburn 54

10. Ole Miss 50

11. Tennessee 33

12. South Carolina 29

13. Mississippi State 13

2014 VOLLEYBALL PRESEASON ALL-SEC TEAM (including position, year, height and hometown)

Krystal Rivers, Alabama, OPP, So., 5-10, Birmingham, Ala.

Alex Holston, Florida, RS, So., 6-1, Olney, Md.

Živa Recek, Florida, OH, Jr., 6-0, Kočevje, Slovenia

Taylor Unroe, Florida, L, Sr., 5-7, Muncie, Ind.

Morgan Bergren, Kentucky, S, Jr., 6-1, Muncie, Ind.

Brianna Holman, LSU, MB, So., 6-1, Desoto, Texas

Carly Kan, Missouri, OH, So., 5-9, Honolulu, Hawaii

Whitney Little, Missouri, MB, SR, 6-3, Keller, Texas

Shelby Sullivan, Texas A&M, MB, Jr., 6-2, Richardson, Texas

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