UF rolls through first two rounds, to play Friday at BYU

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Florida's Allie Monserez (22) led the Gators on Friday in Orlando. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun/File]

Special to The Sun

[Updated 12-2-18, 2 p.m.] ORLANDO — The No. 16 Florida volleyball team swept Florida Gulf Coast on Friday to advance to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.

Florida (27-6) is moving on to the regional semifinal round for the 24th time in 29 trips to the tournament — all 24 coming under coach Mary Wise.

Florida will next play at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday at No. 4 seed BYU (29-1), which swept Stony Brook and Utah, to advance to the Round of 16. The Cougars are playing without junior outside hitter McKenna Miller, who is BYU’s second-best player but is out since Nov. 9 after suffering an ACL injury. BYU advanced to a seventh-straight Sweet 16 and extended a home match NCAA Tournament win streak to 19 games dating back to 1994.

No. 5 Texas and Michigan will play in the other Provo Regional game at 12 p.m. ET Friday. The winners will meet at 8 p.m. ET Saturday in the region final and for a berth in the final four. The Cougars are hosting a regional for the first time since 1986 when the tournament had only 32 teams.

On Friday, UF took the first set, 25-17, then followed with a 25-13 win in the second frame. The Gators were then able to close out the match with a 25-17 win in the final set over FGCU (27-7). The Gators also swept Florida State 3-0 in the first round Thursday.

Florida hit .356 as a squad, the sixth-best percentage this season. Paige Hammons led the offense on Friday night, posting 14 kills on the night. Holly Carlton followed with nine of her own and Rachael Kramer pitched in seven. Allie Monserez dished a team-leading 20 assists — her 30th time leading the Gators in that category this season. Marlie Monserez also added 16 assists on the evening.

“This crowd was great — it honestly felt like a home match,” Kramer said. “You look around and just see Orange and Blue throughout the entire stadium. I cannot thank Gator Nation enough for them to come down all the way to Orlando. That is what pushed us over the edge this weekend — their support was incredible.”

Allie Gregory led the backcourt defense for Florida, posting 16 digs. That was her 29th time leading the Gators in digs this season. Hammons followed with eight of her own and Paula Cerame added seven.

As a squad, the Gators notched 7.0 blocks, led by a team-best five by both Holly Carlton and Taelor Kellum.

 

10 COMMENTS

  1. So cute that the NCAA handed the home venue to UCF. Gator volleyball continues to rule. Who knows? Maybe this year in which no one expects the Gators to succeed is the year they finally break through. Regardless, Mary Wise continues to be one of the best coaches in Gator history.

    • should have been last year. felt like the better team choked in the title game. this is a little bit of a rebuilding year, but next year will be interesting. should play BYU in next round I believe, and that will most likely end season. any wins after tonight will be a bonus.

      • I agree. But at some time Mary Wise has to step up and win the National Title. Every year each team she puts together has the talent to win the National Title. Every year they fall short. With that type of talent and that success, it is not enough to have a great season and make it to the playoffs or even to the title game like last year. She and her team have to win the big one. Otherwise, she will be forever known as the great coach, who could never win the title. She needs to win for her legacy and the school.

        • JLR, considering no female coach has ever won a national title in volleyball, it would be a tremendous accomplishment for Coach Wise to become the first. It would be the icing on the cake, the star on the top of the tree, and great for UF, but I don’t think it’s necessary for her legacy.

      • If you saw the match last year, Nebraska was terrific and had the better team. In the tournament – there is no shame losing in the sweet sixteen and above. The quality of the field is fantastic year after year. Kudos to these very talented and athletic women nationwide. And especially to Mary Wise and the Gators who bring great tribute to UF.