Gators have successful home volleyball debut

Published: Friday, September 16, 2016 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 12:01 a.m.

After spending the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season on the road, the No. 7 Florida volleyball team finally got to play its first two home matches Friday and responded with a pair of 3-0 sweeps over Florida A&M and Jacksonville in the Lemerand Athletic Center.

The Gators (9-1) ran their current winning streak to nine straight with their win over JU in the nightcap of the Active Ankle Challenge, winning by scores of 25-12, 25-18 and 25-20.

Earlier in the day, UF took down FAMU, 25-13, 25-19 and 25-16.

“Today was just a great day overall for the Gators,” said outside hitter Carli Snyder, who led UF with 15 kills and added nine digs while finishing with a match-high 16 points against JU.

“No one knew what the atmosphere of the Lem was going to be like. It was such a new experience, but we really embraced this gym and made it our own.”

UF was paced by the trio of Snyder, middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan and right-side hitter Alex Holston, who combined for 35 of the Gators' 44 kills against the Dolphins (3-8) while redshirt sophomore Allie Monserez recorded a match-high 41 assists to go with nine kills.

Defensively, junior libero Caroline Knop led UF with 13 digs.

“She was born with that whip of an arm,” coach Mary Wise said of Snyder. “Now she's jumping higher, she's stronger, and that arm comes through really, really fast. From the time the ball leaves Allie's hands to Carli's swing, you don't have much time.”

Alhassan had 11 kills while Holston added nine with seven digs.

In UF's tournament opener against FAMU, Holston had a match-high 12 kills while leading all scorers with 14 points.

As a team, the Gators, who had 12 total blocks, hit an impressive .402, their third-highest mark of the season, while limiting the Rattlers to a .065 mark.

Rachael Kramer, a 6-foot-8 freshman, had eight kills and three blocks while hitting .500 and freshman Morgyn Greer added seven kills.

Monserez, the reigning SEC Setter of the Week, provided a match-high 37 assists for UF.

“These people live for good volleyball,” Knop said of the standing-room only crowd. “When we can do that and put on a show, it's definitely nice.”

Marshall (11-3), meanwhile, got 12 kills and a match-high .846 hitting mark from freshman Madison Hill in a 3-0 win over JU to start the day off.

Fellow freshman Jac'cara Walker added 11 kills, while junior Kayla Simmons had a double-double, recording 22 assists and adding 11 digs. Both are former prep standouts at P. K. Yonge.

The Thundering Herd later took care of FAMU, 3-0, setting the stage for a championship match against UF today at 4 p.m. in the tournament finale.

JU will take on FAMU (2-10) at 2 p.m. to get things started.

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