Mary Wise wins #800 against USC

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The No. 10 Florida volleyball program made it two consecutive sweeps against ranked opponents at the USC Classic in LA, and Friday's 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 blanking of the No. 6 USC Trojans at the Galen Center was particularly special as Florida head coach Mary Wise became the only active female Division I head coach to eclipse 800 career victories. Wise, the nation's winningest coach since taking over at the helm of the University of Florida volleyball program in 1991, is the third-winningest active Division I coach in the country (.843 win percentage) in her 28th season as a head coach.

After a tightly contested first-set win Friday that featured nine ties and two lead changes, the Orange and Blue (5-2) worked their way back from a 21-18 deficit in the second frame, outscoring the Trojans 7-2 down the final stretch for a 25-23 set-two victory to enter the break ahead 2-0. The Gators went to middles Rhamat Alhassan and Simone Antwi four times, while freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder and sophomore right side Alex Holston each struck to complement a Nikki O'Rourke service ace, her first of the campaign. In the third set, which included 13 ties and six lead changes, UF put on a gutsy performance after the Gators called time out down, 22-20. Florida scored the next five points thanks to two Antwi slams, Snyder and Holston kills, while capitalizing on a USC attack error.

While Alhassan (11), Antwi (12) and Holston (13) posted double-digit kill and point outputs with the help of junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino's 40 assists, Florida's defense was on point against the Trojans with 10 blocks to USC's four, including seven from Alhassan, while four Gators had seven or more digs in a total team effort paced by senior Holly Pole's 16. UF had just one reception error against a team that boasts the nation's leading server in Samantha Bricio, who averaged 0.91 aces per set entering the tournament.

Alhassan and Holston were named to the USC Classic All-Tournament Team following a stellar two days of play at the Galen Center.

Florida returns back home to Gainesville to host the Campus USA Credit Union Invite Sept. 19-21 when UF hosts Marquette and UCF in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Both matches will be broadcast on SEC Network +.


*         800: career win total for head coach Mary Wise (800-149, .843). Wise is just the fifth Division I female head coach -- and the only active female head coach -- to reach 800 career victories

*         .500: season-best hitting efficiency for junior middle blocker Simone Antwi, who had 12 kills, one shy of her season best output

*         16: digs for senior defensive specialist Holly Pole, who was UF's starting libero for the fourth straight match. Pole scooped up double-digit digs for the fourth time in UF's last five matches, and was just two shy of her season-best 18

*         10.0: blocks for the Gators, their most in a three-set match this season and the most for the UF squad in a three-setter since the tilt against Alabama Nov. 17, 2013. Florida, led by freshman Rhamat Alhassan's career-best seven blocks, limited USC to 4.0 blocks as a team

*         7: UF outscored No. 6 USC 7-2 to take the second set

*         6: service aces for the Gators against the Trojans, their second-most this season, including two from sophomore right side Alex Holston

*         4: three-set sweeps for the Orange and Blue on the 2014 season. Florida's sweep against USC was its second win over a ranked opponent this season

*         3: Florida players with double-digit kills, paced by Holston (13), while junior middle blocker Simone Antwi had 12 alongside freshman middle Alhassan who contributed 11. Friday was Antwi's fourth match this season with double-digit kills, while Alhassan and Antwi each had their third double-digit kill performances, respectively

*         2: straight wins for the Gators against ranked teams. UF swept No. 13 San Diego Thursday and then ended its USC Classic run with a sweep against the No. 6 program in the country in the Trojans

*         2: straight losses for USC to SEC teams, as Texas A&M defeated the Trojans in Thursday's USC Classic action

*         0: reception errors for the Gators in the first two sets against a stellar serving team and the nation's individual leader in aces per set in USC's Samantha Bricio, who entered the week averaging 0.91 per set. Florida had just one reception error the entire match


"We won this match because of the improvements this team made from a week ago, and the schedule presented itself an opportunity for us to get better to be able to play this match. The grit that this group showed at the end of all three sets says a whole lot about where we are right now."


Rhamat Alhassan - Florida

Alex Holston - Florida

Stephanie Aiple - Texas A&M

Shelby Sullivan - Texas A&M

Alaysia Brown - San Diego

Samantha Bricio - USC


The Orange and Blue return home to the friendly confines of the Stephen C. O'Connell Center September 19 for the start of the Gators' Campus USA Credit Union Invite. Florida will host Marquette, who is receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 Poll, Friday evening at 7 p.m. before hosting Sunshine State opponent UCF Sunday at 3 p.m. in the O'Dome. Both Campus USA Credit Union Invite matches will be on SEC Network +.


*         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. 8 FSU, No. 3 Texas, No. 15 San Diego, No. 6 USC & Marquette (rv)

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


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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, 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.