By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The 15th-ranked Florida volleyball team stayed on point, taking down visiting Arkansas, 3-0, in front of an Exactech Arena crowd of 2,428 Wednesday.
The Gators, who won by scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-16, improved to 24-4 overall and 15-2 in SEC play to stay tied for the lead with defending champion Kentucky heading into their regular-season finale Saturday against Texas A&M. The Razorbacks, meanwhile, fell to 11-18, 5-12.
“I’m not sure we were as sharp starting the match, but it’s sort of hard to expect that to be the case considering how well we have played of late,” UF coach Mary Wise said. “It took us awhile to get that service going.
“Credit Arkansas. It’s very different when you play a team that’s coming off of three consecutive wins and is playing with more confidence than earlier when we played them.”
The Razorbacks did come in on a mild hot streak, but the Gators were able to eventually wear them down.
Florida finished the match with 13 team blocks while holding Arkansas to five.
UF was solid offensively as well, hitting .320 with the Razorbacks finishing with just a .094 mark.
Senior middle blocker Rachael Kramer led the Gators in kills with 10 and also hit a match-high .643 while recording one solo block and three block assists.
Junior outside hitter Paige Hammons had a tremendous all-around match, finishing with a hitting mark of .636 to go with seven kills, three service aces, five digs, two solo blocks and two block assists.
Senior libero Allie Gregory added a match-high 10 digs and two service aces, while redshirt junior Darrielle King came off the bench and had a match-high five block assists to go with three kills.
After making seven errors in the first set, the Gators caught fire and had a total of just three errors in the final two sets.
Jillian Gillien led Arkansas with a match-high 14 kills but also had a match-high eight errors.
The Gators face a solid Texas A&M squad Saturday at 4 p.m. to wind up the regular season at the O’Connell Center.
“I think we were very prepared for this whole year, and we’re ready to go for Saturday,” Hammons said. “It’s also Senior Day, and we are going to play so hard for our seniors.”
UF is hoping to get at least a share of its 24th SEC title – all under Wise – with a victory.
“The record book won’t show what the seniors as a group have meant to this program,” Wise said. “The people they are, the character that they bring to our program in the locker room and on the court, they are truly wonderful ambassadors.”