Florida Gators volleyball has a undefeated weekend

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gator fans in the O'Connell Center Saturday got a special show from the No. 10 Florida volleyball team, as the Orange and Blue rallied through five sets to down Oklahoma, 3-2, in the final match of UF's opening-weekend Active Ankle Challenge and emerge an undefeated 3-0.

After Oklahoma opened with a 25-22 first-set victory, it took a 28-26 decision for the Gators to square the match after the second frame. UF (25-12) and OU (25-22) traded sets in the third and fourth, but sophomore right side and tournament MVP Alex Holston took over in the fifth with four kills, a .667 clip and two blocks to seal the deal for the Gators with a 15-8 edge. Middles Rhamat Alhassan and Simone Antwi also represented the Orange and Blue on the Active Ankle Challenge All-Tournament Team, Alhassan after hitting .600 with 23 kills, just two errors and 13 blocks (1.30/s) in UF's opening weekend, and Antwi with 30 kills, a .418 hitting efficiency and seven blocks.


*         798: wins for head coach Mary Wise (798-147, .844), just two victories away from the 800-win milestone. Wise will be the fifth Division I female head coach -- and the only active female head coach -- to reach 800 career victories

*         .600: hitting efficiency of freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan though three matches. Alhassan had her best match of the weekend, both offensively and defensively, against Idaho, registering a .812 clip and six blocks

*         51: assists for junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino, a new career high. Dagostino's five blocks were additionally a career-best output

*         28.0: blocks for the Gators this weekend, including 13.0 against Oklahoma. On the flip side, UF opponents had 18.0

*         19: kills for sophomore right side Alex Holston, two shy of her career high 21. Holston also has seven blocks (0.64/s) and is tied with senior Taylor Unroe for the team lead with five service aces thus far in 2014 (0.45/s)

*         13.0: the most team blocks for a Gators squad in a five-set match since Nov. 3 of last season. Florida has  2.55 blocks/s after this weekend's matches

*         12.0: points for junior outside hitter Noami Santos-Lamb, a new career best after a career-best 12 kills in UF's five-set win

*         11: kills for freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder, who is averaging 2.0 kills/s, 16 total, in eight sets played as a Gator

*         4: Gators with double-digit kills (Holston: 19, Antwi: 13, Santos-Lamb: 12, Snyder: 11)

*         3: senior defensive specialists with double-digit digs, including 18 from Holly Pole, two shy of her career best 20, 17 from Taylor Unroe and 11 from Maddy Monserez

*         .082: The average hitting efficiency of UF's opponents in the Active Ankle Challenge. Idaho was most efficient against Florida with a .158 clip


"I think the story of today was really our three seniors and their stabilizing play for us, Nikki (O'Rourke) as well. We think that, before the season has ended, that nucleus of those four will have a chance to be some of the best back-row defenders in a collective group that we've ever had."

On the senior defensive specialists and versatility at the libero position:

"She (Holly Pole) was passing so well, so to have her out there for five and a half rotations, instead of three, just made a lot of sense. We knew we were going to do this this year, at least we have the opportunity to do it. Thursday night could be Taylor (Unroe), it could be Holly again, it could be Maddy (Monserez). That's the beauty of the three of them. They're different, but so close in so many different skills. When Holly was feeling it -- like a basketball player is feeling it and you want to give them the ball -- we needed Holly out there for those five and a half rotations."

On the play of MVP Alex Holston:

"We knew we'd have to ride her arm. It didn't matter what her numbers were last night. It's like a basketball team, if you have an off night, you just have to come back and keep shooting. Alex has developed the shooter's mentality. I don't think anybody in the arena doubted the ball was going to her and she still delivered."


Alex Holston, Florida - MVP

Simone Antwi, Florida

Rhamat Alhassan, Florida

Julia Doyle, Oklahoma

Madison Ward, Oklahoma

Kym Coley, Georgia Southern

Katelyn Peterson, Idaho


*         The Gators have a loaded non-conference schedule, as six of Florida's first eight matches have been, or are, against opponents ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Preseason Top 25 (in order of schedule): Oklahoma (rv), No. 13 FSU, No. 2 Texas, No. 14 San Diego, No. 5 USC & Marquette (rv)

*         Seven of Florida's first eight opponents made the 2013 NCAA Tournament: add Georgia Southern to the above list. The Eagles were in the Gainesville sub regional last December


Up next, the Orange and Blue will head west to Tallahassee for their first road test of the season, and first clash with a ranked opponent, when Florida meets No. 13 Florida State at Tully Gym. First serve between the Gators and Seminoles is slated for 6 p.m. FSU defeated No. 7 Nebraska, 3-1, Friday in Lincoln and will take on Iowa State Sunday before the Gators head to town.


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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.