Florida Gators volleyball sweeps Ole Miss on the road

Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:

OXFORD, Miss. – The top-ranked Gators (14-0, 6-0 SEC) were pushed in the first set but dominated the final two, as three-time All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassanturned in one of the best performances in the nation in Friday night’s sweep of Ole Miss.

Florida returns to Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for the third top-10 matchup in SEC history Sunday, when it faces No. 8 Kentucky at 1 p.m. Florida and Kentucky, chosen by the league’s coaches as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the preseason, are the only teams with unblemished SEC records.

Alhassan totaled 20 kills and zero errors on 26 attacks, good for a ridiculous .769 hitting percentage. Alhassan is the only player in the nation to hit over .710 with at least 20 kills and 20 attempts this year. She is also the only player in the country to tally at least 20 kills and finish errorless in a match this year. Her hitting percentage also ranks fourth in program history for a single match (minimum 20 attempts).

Alhassan also added five total blocks (one solo) for 23 points. She is the fourth Gator since 2006 to tally at least 23 points in a three-set match.

Florida’s defense was as stingy as ever, too, holding Ole Miss to a -.036 hitting percentage. It is the second time this season the Gators forced their opponent into a negative hitting percentage. Senior libero Caroline Knop led the back row with 20 digs, marking her fourth 20-dig match of the year.

The victory elevated Mary Wise‘s career win total to 889, surpassing former Pacific and Stanford head coach John Dunning for the seventh-most wins in Division I history and 13th-most wins in NCAA history (all three divisions).

 

SUNDAY PROMOTIONS

  • Orange “Point Florida” T-Shirt Giveaway – First 500 general fans (pickup at merchandise booth on the right half of atrium); First 500 students (pickup at Gate 3 after entering arena)
  • Student Tailgate (inside at Gate 3) – FREE brunch (Krispy Kreme donuts, coffee, Gatorade, orange juice)
  • Honorary First Serve – Cam Newbauer, UF women’s basketball head coach
  • Kid’s Korner (Gate 4 lobby) – Poster-making station; photo booth
  • Post-match autographs
  • Pre-match Court Projection Video

 

BROADCAST INFORMATION | Match Notes

Sunday, Oct. 15 vs. No. 8 Kentucky | 1 p.m. ET

TV: SEC Network [Tiffany Greene & Missy Whittemore] | Streaming: Watch ESPN | Radio: Audio Stream [Tom Collett & Josh Crow] (also available via ESPN Gainesville 98.1 FM / 850 AM) | Live Stats

 

(COACH) WISE’S WORDS

Head coach Mary Wise on Rhamat Alhassan’s performance…

“We’ve had a history of some pretty elite middles, but this was a special performance. For a middle to score 23 points in a three-set match … she just made such great decisions all night long and was the difference-maker. Even the ones she didn’t touch, she altered some hitting choices by (Ole Miss). There were even more points she was responsible for than show up in the box score.”

 

Wise on the difference between the struggles in the first set and the last two sets when things got rolling…

“We passed the ball very well. Our setters did a really good job getting balls to Rhamat. There were major point runs when Rhamat was in the front row.”

 

Wise on getting ready for a top-10 matchup with Kentucky Sunday…

“We’ve been preparing for Kentucky for some time … any night we played a very physical team. It’s the best Kentucky team in decades. They’re that good. It should be a really fun match.”

 

NOTABLES

  • Rhamat Alhassan is one of four middle blockers in the nation to record 20 kills in a three-set match this year
  • Alhassan’s .769 hitting percentage is the sixth-highest in the nation this year by a player with at least 20 attempts
  • The Gators held an opponent under a .100 hitting percentage for the fifth time this season
  • The Gators have never lost a match during the regular season as the nation’s No. 1 team (27-0 record) and boast a 32-2 all-time record at No. 1
  • Florida improved its all-time record against Ole Miss to 49-3, along with a 43-0 mark under head coach Mary Wise
  • Florida’s 14-0 start is the fourth-longest winning streak to open a season in school history, trailing 16-0 starts in 1987 and 2007, as well as the 28-0 start to the 1995 campaign
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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.