By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The Florida volleyball team rebounded from Friday night’s loss to No. 7 Southern Cal to take down previously unbeaten Louisville, 3-1, Saturday afternoon in the Exactech Arena at the O’Connell Center.
The fourth-ranked Gators, who won by scores of 25-20, 23-25, 25-18 and 25-22, picked up their first home win of the season while improving to 2-2 overall heading into today’s Bubly Invitational finale against UCF (2-3) at 3:30.
Louisville (4-1) will take on Southern Cal (4-0) in the day’s first match at 1.
“That is not the type of team you want to play to get back on the winning track,” coach Mary Wise said. “They’re such veterans, and I’m just so proud of our team and the way they responded in that situation.”
UF moved to 7-0 all-time against the Cardinals with the four-set win.
The Gators were led by 14 kills by freshman outside hitter Thaler Hall, 13 from sophomore right-side hitter Holly Carlton and 10 from senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum, who set new career-highs for kills, hitting percentage (.833) and block assists (seven).
Senior Allie Monserez had 24 assists, while freshman sister Marlie added 13, and Allie Gregory led all players with 12 digs and added seven assists.
Other key contributors included sophomore Paige Hammons (six kills, 10 digs) and freshman Haley Warner (six kills).
The Gators also owned a 10-8 advantage in team blocks.
Wise noted USC’s experience factor played a major role in the Trojans’ win Friday.
“You’ve got young players trying to find their way, and this is who you have to face?” she asked. “It’s not like Louisville is a weak serving team, but let’s understand the bar is pretty high with USC. We may not face a team that serves with the ball speed of which they are capable of doing all year.”
Louisville was led by 14 kills by Melanie McHenry, 13 by Jasmine Bennett and 11 from Megan Sloan.
In addition, Bennett hit a sizzling .722 on 18 attempts with no errors, Mollie Sauer had 11 digs and seven assists, while setter Wilma Rivera just missed a double-double with a match-high 40 assists to go with nine digs.
Each team recorded three service aces.
In between sets, former UF great Rhamat Alhassan, who is headed to Japan to play professionally, was honored for receiving the Honda Award.
The Gators hit the road for their next action following today’s match with UCF.
Florida will take part in the Lumberjack Invitational next weekend in Flagstaff, AZ, along with CSUN, Northern Arizona and Southern Illinois.
Soccer: Florida (2-2-1) is in the middle of a three-match stretch against United Soccer Coaches’ top-10 teams, when it plays host to No. 7 Southern California (3-0-1) at 6 p.m. Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. In Friday’s action, Florida played No. 2 UCLA to a scoreless tie and as did the Trojans at No. 4 Florida State.