Florida Gators volleyball sweeps LIU on Senior Day

Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 17 Florida blanked LIU Brooklyn Friday afternoon in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center to cap of the 2015 regular season on a high note. The Gators (22-6) celebrated their five seniors Simone Antwi, Mackenzie Dagostino, Gabby Mallette, Nikki O'Rourke and Živa Recek in a pre-match ceremony in front of over 2,000 Gator fans before posting 25-16, 25-16 and 25-19 straight-set wins against the Blackbirds (14-14).

Fittingly on Senior Day, Antwi hit .800 to lead the Gators with a team-tying eight kills on 10 errorless swings. Antwi added two blocks, as did Mallette, while sophomore middle Rhamat Alhassan posted a floor-tying six roofs alongside Dagostino's six as the Orange and Blue put up nine blocks on the afternoon to LIU Brooklyn's three.

Antwi and Alhassan both had eight kills to lead the Gators, while all five of Dagostino's swings went for kills in the Friday afternoon three-set affair. Florida held the Blackbirds to just 22 kills -- second-least for a UF opponent this season -- and was perfect on serve receive with zero reception errors for just the second time in 2015.

While the senior class chalked up its 105th win (105-19, .847), Friday's match also served as an opportunity to get some of the Gators' youth on the court, including redshirt freshman Lindsey Rogers, who served up one of UF's eight service aces on the afternoon. After the seniors took their final bow out of the match to standing ovations, it was freshman middle blocker Taelor Kellum who came up with match point on her third career kill as a Gator.

Recek and sophomore outside hitter Carli Snyder both dropped in two aces to lead UF's efforts and O'Rourke flew around for 14 digs to lead the Gators on the defensive end.

Serving runs were a strong theme for the Gators to rout the Blackbirds, as UF put together a total of six runs of four or more points throughout the match. Recek had four-point serving runs in all three sets, while junior right-side Alex Holston put together a six-point run in the second to aid UF's efforts. Rogers used a five-point tear in the third and final set to extend UF's lead to double-digits at 22-12.

Friday's match served as a unique doubleheader with men's hoops as the basketball Gators face FGCU in the nightcap in the O'Dome.


"This match gave us an opportunity to play a team out of conference in preparation for what it's like in the NCAA Tournament; where you're unfamiliar with an opponent and trying to make adjustments as the match goes on."


*         22 | Kills for LIU Brooklyn, the second least for a Gator opponent on the season (19 at Georgia 11/1) and the least for a non-conference Florida opponent this year

*         17 | Sweeps for Florida on the 2015 campaign. The Gators have swept 12 of their last 15 matches entering the NCAA Tournament

*         15 | Opponents the Gators have held to a .200 efficiency or lower on the season. Florida held Long Island to a .012 clip on the afternoon

*         8 | Florida extended its home win streak to eight matches. Should the Gators host the NCAA Tournament First & Second Rounds next week in the O'Dome, they boast a 48-7 (.873) record at home in the NCAA Tourney

*         8 | Service aces for the Gators to tie a season high (11/13 vs. Alabama). Florida now has five or more aces in 12 matches entering the 2015 postseason. Carli Snyder and Živa Recek had two aces each, while redshirt freshman Lindsey Rogers served up the third ace of her career at Florida

*         0 | Reception errors for the Orange and Blue, just the second match this season the Gators were error free on serve receive in a match (vs. San Diego State 9/12)

Other Gator Notables

*         Wednesday was a stellar day for the Orange and Blue as a conference high five Gators were named to the 2015 All-SEC squad<http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=31817>

*         Simone Antwi voted into University of Florida Student Senate<https://t.co/UEeHfoPgWX>

*         Živa Recek earns AVCA Coaches 4 Coaches Scholarship<http://www.gatorzone.com/story.php?id=31654>

Florida will hang tight until the Nov. 29 NCAA Selection Show this Sunday at 9 p.m. on ESPNU where the Gators will learn their postseason path. On Wednesday, the Gators were named to the AVCA's NCAA Division I Tournament Host Watch List for the First & Second Rounds Dec. 3-4.


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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.