Florida volleyball coasts to invitational title

The undefeated ninth-ranked Florida Gators closed out the Campus USA Invitational with another three-game sweep over Clemson Tigers (25-14, 25-16 and 25-18) and the tournament’s title.

The Gators (6-0) held Clemson (4-2) to a hitting percentage of just .024 while they pounded the Tigers with a .284 average, finishing the Campus USA Invite 3-0, moving along in their undefeated season.

“We definitely were challenged a lot this weekend,” sophomore middle blocker Chloe Mann said. “And for us to come out not losing a set, I think is a true testament to how hard we have been working during preseason and over the summer.”

Senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel had a tremendous game with 11 kills and seven digs. Mann stepped it up with nine kills and coach Mary Wise was impressed.

“For Chloe to have five blocks and nine kills, she really brought her A-game,” said Wise. “She took full advantage of that starting opportunity. She is the best jumper on the team. She looked like an experienced player out there because she never looked lost.”

Junior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs had seven kills and senior setter/right-side hitter Kelly Murphy had six. Senior outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell had 4 kills and 7 digs along with freshman libero Taylor Unroe who added seven digs as well to help the Gators to another win.

All of the Gators’ players got a lot of playing time over the weekend and everyone each made significant contributions to the team.

“We are so comfortable with any six plays on the court,” Jaeckel said. “Everyone plays hard and works hard and I really feel like we have a good trust and balance in our team.”

In the first set, the Gators started off with a kill from senior Kristy Jaeckel setting the tempo for the rest of the set. The two teams were tied early on in the set but the Gators began to pull away as senior Mann, Murphy and Ferrell delivered kills to put the Tigers away.

The second set was similar to the first as the Tigers only earned two more points than they did in the first set. The Gators were led by Jaeckel, who had five kills and Wiggs with four.

The third set was more competitive as the score was tied 6 times before the Gators pulled away after the set was tied at 12. Clemson took a time out at that point to try to regroup but was not able to get back into a rhythm of things as the Tigers were able to earn only five more points for the rest of the set.

The Gators next challenge is going to be the No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones in the O’Connell Center on Monday at 2 p.m.

“The most important thing is that we get better,” Wise said. “I thought today we showed signs of improvement that we didn’t see as much as yesterday. Now the key is we go to a whole other level with Iowa State. Iowa State is a tough match-up for us in terms of what they do well, we don’t do well. We are going to have our work cut out for us.”