Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The (massive) crowd was incredible. Senior outside hitter Carli Snyder was phenomenal. And the Gators, as a team, were balanced offensively, stellar behind the service line and tremendous defensively, stifling top-ranked Texas in a 3-1 upset victory Friday (Aug. 25) night—which was their first match inside Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center since last year’s $64.5 million renovations.
For only the third time in program history, the No. 12 Gators defeated the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. The last such victory came via a sweep of Stanford on Sep. 14, 2002, in the original O’Dome. It also marked Florida’s first win over a top-five team since Sep. 4, 2015, when it topped No. 3 Texas, 3-1, in Austin as part of the VERT Challenge.
Friday night’s attendance was 7,523, marking the second-largest home crowd in program history. Only Florida’s match against Georgia back on Oct. 14, 1994, which 8,163 fans took in, was bigger.
Snyder was the start of the night, tallying 20.5 points and 14 kills—both of which were match highs. For good measure, the Macomb, Mich. native added 20 digs and six service aces.
Florida dealt 10 aces as a team, its highest total since posting the same number in its 2015 NCAA Second Round win over Florida State.
Sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer (13.5 points) was the only Gator with double-digit kills (11), but three-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan (nine), fifth-year senior opposite Shainah Joseph (nine), and redshirt freshman outside hitter Mia Sokolowski (eight) balanced the Gators’ offense.
Defensively, the Gators held Texas to a .156 hitting percentage. Last season, the Longhorns ranked third nationally in hitting percentage (.307).
Florida faces No. 5 Nebraska Saturday (Aug. 26) at 5 p.m. in the O’Dome. This will be the seventh time in school history the Gators face consecutive top-five opponents. They have never won two such matches in a row.
· Florida improves its all-time record against No. 1-ranked teams to 3-14—the other two wins were a 3-0 sweep of Stanford in Gainesville (Sep. 14, 2002) and a 3-2 win against Penn State in Lincoln, Neb. (Aug. 27, 1999)
· The Gators improve their all-time record against Texas to 15-9, and to 15-8 under Mary Wise
· Florida, which led the nation with a .338 hitting percentage last year, registered a .164 clip Friday night. That would’ve been their second-lowest hitting percentage a year ago (.128 in a loss to Kentucky)
o The last time Florida hit below .200 and won was Nov. 23, 2012, when it hit .190 in a sweep at Georgia—and they hit .177 in a 3-1 win over LSU on Nov. 16, 2012 as well
· This is the first time since 2013 the Gators face consecutive top-five opponents. The other such occurrences came in 1993, 1997 (twice), 2003, and 2010
Saturday, Aug. 26, vs. No. 5 Nebraska | 5 p.m. ET
TV: Live on SEC Network | Stream: Watch ESPN | Radio Stream (Tom Collett & Josh Crow) + live on ESPN Gainesville (98.1 FM / 850 AM) | Live Stats
SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS
Nebraska | 2016 season synopsis: 31-3 overall, 18-2 Big Ten, NCAA Semifinalist
· Florida trails: 2-8 (2-6 under Mary Wise)
· 3-set: 0-4 | 4-set: 0-2 | 5-set: 2-2
· Home: 1-1 | Away: 0-3 | Neutral: 1-4
· Last Time Out: Aug. 26, 2016, VERT Challenge in Eugene, Ore. – L, 1-3 (27-25, 15-25, 16-25, 21-25)
· Notable: Florida topped Nebraska, 3-2, at the 2010 Runza/AVCA Showcase in Omaha, Neb., and won another five-set match at home in 1997