Roundup: UF volleyball team wins Challenge

Published: Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 12:54 a.m.

The Florida volleyball team put the cap on its opening home weekend by taking care of a solid Marshall squad with a hard-fought 3-1 win Saturday at the Lemerand Athletic Center, winning 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 in the final match of the Active Ankle Challenge.

After playing eight straight matches on the road over the first 3 1/2 weeks of the season, No. 7 UF (10-1) extended its current winning streak to 10 straight en route to capturing the tournament title.

“What a great match,” coach Mary Wise said. “Marshall just played so well.

“Their senior Cassie Weaver was outstanding. She had a double-double and just took fearless swings.”

Weaver finished with a team-high 17 kills and added 11 digs in the loss.

Meanwhile, the Gators' big three of senior Alex Holston and juniors Rhamat Alhassan and Carli Snyder did yeoman's work, combining to record 51 of UF's 59 kills.

Snyder led the way with a career-high 21 kills while hitting a solid .442. Holston recorded 17 kills and hit .371 while the 6-foot-4 Alhassan added 13 kills and hit .440.

But the big difference came at the net, with UF racking up 15 team blocks to one for Marshall.

Holston had eight block assists to tie Snyder for the overall team scoring lead, each with 21 points, while Alhassan had two solo blocks and six block assists to finish with 18 points.

All three were named to the All-Tournament team, with Snyder garnering Tournament MVP honors.

“We need to come up with a moniker for those three,” Wise said. “We don't win that match without the blocking. Those 15 blocks were key.”

Rachael Kramer, a 6-foot-8 true freshman, added six kills and six block assists while hitting a team-high .500, and redshirt sophomore Allie Monserez set a career-high with 53 assists and added 12 digs for an impressive double-double.

The loss was the first of the weekend for Marshall (11-4), which one day earlier had matched UF's sweeps of JU and FAMU.

That set up a showdown with the Gators for this year's tournament title, but the Thundering Herd could not find the points they needed to pull the upset after taking the first set to put UF in an early hole.

“We said at the end that Marshall deserved every point they got,” Snyder said. “They were such a fun team to play against. They were so high energy and made so many scrappy plays.”

Florida hit .375 while holding Marshall to a .190 hitting mark.

Former P. K. Yonge standouts Jac'cara Walker and Kayla Simmons both had solid matches for the Herd, with Walker recording 11 kills while Simmons had 21 assists.

Next up, UF opens Southeastern Conference play.

The Gators will face Ole Miss in Oxford at 7:30 p.m. Friday before heading to Tuscaloosa to square off with Alabama at 1 p.m. Sunday in a match to be televised by the SEC Network.

No. 4 Florida loses 2-1 at Arkansas: In a weather-delayed soccer match held in front of 1,155 at the Razorback Field on Friday night, Arkansas (8-1, 2-0 SEC) collected its first win in the 21-match series that started in 1995. It was the second home win over a top-five team for Arkansas, as then No. 2 Duke fell 2-1 on Aug. 26.

Two goals from junior Jessi Hartzler in a three-minute span gave the Razorbacks a 2-0 halftime lead.

A corner kick resulted in a Gator goal. Gabby Seiler sent in the corner kick which Mayra Pelayo put a touch on from the far side of the box. Senior Meggie Dougherty Howard made a sliding shot which scored at the middle of the goal from four yards. The Gators (5-2, 1-1) outshot the Razorback 15-3 in the second half, but couldn't find the tying goal.

Florida returns home to play host to UCF (5-3) at 7 tonight at Pressly Stadium on campus.

Gators collect doubles titles: At Cary, N.C., Florida followed an outstanding opening day of play at its season-opening event with a number of stellar performances that included a pair of doubles titles at the Duke Bonk Invite held at the Cary Tennis Park. Five of the six Gators competing this weekend set themselves up to play in the final of their respective draws.

Kourtney Keegan, Anna Danilina, Belinda Woolcock, Josie Kuhlman and Peggy Porter all will play for a championship today.

Pairing together for the first time, Kourtney Keegan and Peggy Porter teamed in the BLUE doubles draw and Anna Danilina and Spencer Liang in the WHITE draw and both teams captured the title of their respective draws.

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