By: Shauni Lynch
No. 8 seed Florida Gators are advancing in the 2014 NCAA Volleyball Tournament after a clean sweep of Alabama State and a 21st consecutive win. Four Gators registered a .500 clip, including junior middle Simone Antwi (.833), freshman middle back Rhamat Alhassan (.583), freshman Carli Snyder (.571) and sophomore right side Alex Holston (.522) as Florida’s offense and defense dominated the match.
The Gators took quickly to the court and had an early lead in the first set 10-1. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino served up 10 straight points and three serving aces early and marked the tune for the rest of the set. Florida won the first set over the Lady Hornets 25-13.
Led by Holston’s 14 kills and 16.5 points and Alhassan’s and Snyder’s eight kills, the Gators kept the fire alive and took the next two sets in the same quick fashion as the first. Senior Maddy Monserez had control of Florida’s defense with eight digs and helped limit Alabama State to no more than 12 points in the rest of the match (25-12, 25-12).
In comparison to the Lady Hornets, the Gators put up some big numbers. Florida registered a team hitting efficiency of .439 while limiting its opponent to a -.013 clip, the 21st time this season the Gators kept an opponent below a .197. This is also the third match Florida forced the other team to a negative clip. The Gators also out-blocked Alabama State 6-2 with a steady three from Holston.
For the next round of action, Florida will have a face off with Miami (22-8) Saturday night in the O’Dome at 7 p.m. This is the first time in program history that these two have met and it will be broadcasted on the SEC Network. The winner of this match will take off to Ames, Iowa to compete in the third round against either No. 9 seed Illinois or Iowa State.