By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The top-ranked Florida volleyball team made it 13 wins in a row with a 3-0 sweep of Georgia before an Exactech Arena crowd of 3,413 Sunday in the O’Connell Center.
While it was the 12th sweep in a row in the series for UF, it did not come easily.
After dropping the first set 25-13, the Bulldogs (12-7, 2-4) pushed the Gators (13-0, 5-0) to the limit in sets two and three before losing by scores of 25-23 and 27-25.
“They (Georgia) played well and played low-error,” coach Mary Wise said. “They had that prototypical type of attitude of nothing to fear, so we’re just going to take good rips at it.”
UF sprinted to a 7-1 lead in set one and never looked back in posting the win, but had to rally to take set two before fighting through seven ties and four lead changes to pull out the third set.
Georgia actually had set point at 24-19, but a Bulldog service error made it 24-20, and sophomore Chanelle Hargreaves came in to serve and brought the Gators to a 24-all tie before a UF hitting error again put the Bulldogs at set point.
Senior Carli Snyder followed with a kill to tie the match at 25-all, and redshirt junior Allie Monserez then served out the final two points, with sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer providing the clincher.
“We always say find a way to win, like no matter what the situation,” Hargreaves said. “Every time I stepped back, I just felt like ‘How can I help my teammates?’”
Florida, which hit .267 for the match and held a 13-2 advantage in team blocks, was led by senior middle Rhamat Alhassan’s match-high 14 kills and .571 hitting percentage. She also added a solo block, three block assists and a service ace en route to scoring a match-high 17.5 points.
Snyder had 10 kills, eight digs and two block assists for 11 points, while Kramer was right behind with 10.5 points on seven kills and a match-high seven block assists.
Senior libero Caroline “CK” Knop had a team-best 13 digs while freshman outside hitter Paige Hammons contributed eight points on four kills, seven digs and two service aces.
In addition, setters Allie Monserez (21 assists, eight digs) and Cheyenne Huskey (14 assists, five block assists, three kills and three digs) each were solid as was defensive specialist Allie Gregory, who also finished with eight digs.
“At the beginning of that third set, we were really high error,” Alhassan said. “We were giving them a lot of points, but we found a way to combat that towards the end and fought real hard.”
T’ara Ceasar led Georgia with nine kills, while libero Kendall Glover had a match-high 15 digs.
The Gators held the Bulldogs to a .075 hitting percentage, marking the 12th time in 13 matches UF has held its opponent below a .185 mark.
The victory brought Wise’s career win total to 888, tying former Pacific and Stanford coach John Dunning for seventh all-time in Division I.
Florida has a road match at Ole Miss on Friday before returning home to face No. 10 Kentucky at 1 p.m. Sunday in a battle of the SEC’s top two squads.
UF soccer team beats Vandy
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Florida’s soccer team earned a 3-0 win over Vanderbilt on a rainy Sunday afternoon at the Vanderbilt Soccer Complex.
It was Vanderbilt’s first loss of the SEC season. Sunday’s match featured two teams among the SEC leaders. Florida (11-2 overall) moves to second in the league standings with 15 points off of its 5-1 SEC record while Vanderbilt drops to third with 13 points with a 4-1-1 record and 9-4-1.
Florida’s first goal came when Mayra Pelayo and Deanne Rose connected in the eighth minute. Pelayo’s cross to the far side of the box was just over a Vanderbilt defender’s head. Rose took a touch to control and then put the ball in the far post netting. Rose put in her second goal in the 60th minute. She brought the ball down the right side of Vanderbilt’s box. The VU keeper came off her line and Rose placed it to the far corner from 14 yards.
Rose also played a part in Florida’s third goal. She drew a penalty kick in the 77th minute which Gabby Seiler successfully converted for the Gators’ second goal of the half.
UF’s Kaylan Marckese made a key stop midway through the opening half. Marckese made the point-blank stop on Stephanie Amack’s eight-yard header off a Commodore corner kick.
No. 9 Florida returns home to play host to No. 16 Florida State (8-2) on Thursday.