The No. 9 Florida Gators volleyball team will take on the No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones today at 2 p.m., in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in a battle between undefeated teams playing well in the early season.
Both teams are undefeated up to this point as the Cyclones just swept the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Gators just swept the Clemson Tigers to both improve to a 6-0 record.
Included in that unbeaten record for the Gators was the clinching the title of the Active Ankle SEC/ACC Challenge and the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational titles. Senior outside hitters Stephanie Ferrell and Kristy Jaeckel were the MVPs of the respective tournaments, while senior setter/ right-side Kelly Murphy, and freshman libero Taylor Unroe were named to both All-Tournament Teams.
Along with those outstanding players, expect great things from sophomore middle blocker Chloe Mann as she showed this past weekend in her first career start against Clemson, where she ended the game with a career high of nine kill and five blocks.
The Cyclones took a title of their own home this past weekend in the Iowa State Challenge. Junior middle blocker Jamie Straube was named MVP of the tournament and senior outside hitter Carly Jenson and junior setter Alison Landwehr were recognized on the all-tournament team as well. Jenson was also named a top performer for college volleyball’s opening weekend by CVU.com.
The Cyclones are also led by sophomore libero Kristen Hahn who was recently named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week.
Coach Wise is fully aware of what a threat the Cyclones could be to the Gators undefeated season this year though.
“Now the key is we go to a whole other level with Iowa State,” Wise said after Saturday’s game against Clemson. “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.”
If the crowd is to be anything like it has been since the beginning of the season, the Gators will definitely have an edge on the Cyclones with a huge support system.
“Our students have done a really good job of showing up,” senior Kelly Murphy said after their win over the Florida State Seminoles. “We never have had fans like this especially in the beginning of the season. When we were down and coming back it was really the crowd that was pushing us and it really gave us that little bit of extra energy that you need.”