Special to Gatorsports.com
LINCOLN, Neb. – The No. 7 Florida volleyball team battled until the end with No. 3 Texas, but fell just short in the fifth set (18-25, 25-21, 25-21, 21-25, 10-15) on Saturday.
Florida finished 1-1 at the VERT Challenge after upsetting host Nebraska 3-1 on Friday night.
Thayer Hall led all Gators (1-1) with 21 kills, bringing her to 41 total for the weekend. Holly Carlton followed with 11 kills and a .360 hit clip. Paige Hammons posted nine kills during the match, while Rachael Kramer and Taelor Kellum both recorded eight kills apiece.
Marlie Monserez (29) and Allie Monserez (28) combined for 57 assists and five players registered double-digit digs. Kramer and Hall each posted four blocks apiece at the net.
The Gators fell in the first set, 25-18, with Taelor Kellum notching four kills. Kramer and Carlton each registered three kills in the frame as well, while Allie Monserez recorded seven assists and Marlie Monserez added six of her own.
Florida topped Texas 25-21 in both the second set and the third set to take a 2-1 lead over the Longhorns. Hall posted seven kills in the second set, hitting .538 during the frame. Carlton recorded three kills and the Monserezs combined for 13 assists in the second set.
Hall once again led the Gators in the third set, recording six kills on 12 swings, while also picking up four digs. Paige Hammons and Allie Gregory each recorded three digs in the frame. The Gators trailed almost the entire set, but tied the game at 19-19 and went on a 6-2 run to clinch the frame.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth affair between the two squads, but after the game was tied at 18-18, Texas took advantage of four Florida errors to go on a 7-3 run and even the match at 2-2.
Florida held a 9-5 lead in the final set, but the Longhorns went on a 10-1 run to close out the frame and win the match. Six Gators recorded one kill in the final set and M. Monserez recorded a set-leading three digs and three assists for Florida.
The Gators host the Bubly Invitational from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 and the tournament features No. 10 Southern California, Louisville and UCF. Florida plays Southern California on Friday at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Note: Thayer Hall and Allie Gregory were named to the VERT Challenge All-Tournament Team
So close. Great start to the season!
What a bold move starting the season on he road against #2 and #3. All with a substantially new team. Heading to Gainesville Friday to see the Gators play Southern Cal. Hope they straighten out whatever weakness caused them to not score after leading 10-7 in the fifth. Last year the Gators dinked way too often which doesn’t work against the great teams. Congrats to Mary Wise for reloading in a big way. Go Gators!!!!
I really like that we started against strong opponents. Really sez’ something about the program that Mary has created. No fear. I would like to see that in all the sports in which we compete. Even though it is a tough loss, the ladies had a great weekend. Something to build on. Go Gators!
Florida, Nebraska, Texas and Oregon agreed to a four year contract to play in the VERT Challenge Volleyball Tournament. It is the season opening tournament. This is the fourth and final year. Each team gets to host the tournament one year. Coaches usually decide which teams they want to play. This year Nebraska coach Cook asked the other three coaches if they had any preference on who they wanted to play. Coach Wise chose Nebraska and Texas, Texas coach Elliott chose Florida and Oregon. It was apparent he wanted to avoid a toxic atmosphere with Lexi Sun having transferred from Texas to Nebraska. It turned out a non-issue anyway as Sun is injured and Nebraska is taking its time and being very careful with her rehabilitation. They want her ready for the Big Ten season. Not sure who will sign up to play in the VERT next season. Nebraska coach Cook doesn’t want to, he wants a tournament that will include a home and away match, say Wed home, then that Sat. away. He thinks its better for the players and fans instead of a Fri / Sat back to back. With the old Vert all the teams have to play 3 years in away matches and only 1 home match. He also wants to play Stanford instead of Oregon. Teams such as Nebraska, Texas, Florida, PennSt. and Stanford are playing each other in the non conference schedule every year. They are trying their best to grow the sport with big time matches. The Big Ten is volleyball fan crazy, The SEC is finally starting to pay attention because of Mary Wise and Florida, but those sorry ass SEC athletic directors are the blame. They’ve had the money for years to support women’s volleyball. The PAC 12 disturbs me. Stanford, USC, UCLA barely bring in 1000 fans to their matches on average. Its sad because every volleyball champion up until 1995 was won by a team from California, or Washington. Great teams, but the fans love the beach too much.
Found it! VERT Challenge future: After four years of the same teams in the VERT Challenge, they’ll be a new group of teams if the tournament continues next season. In the four years, Florida had a 6-2 record, Texas was 5-3, Nebraska 4-4 and Oregon 1-7.