Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It was far from pretty, but the No. 12 Gators did just enough force a fifth set. And they played stellar volleyball at the match’s most critical juncture to come away with a second consecutive victory over a top-five opponent, capping the two-day VERT Challenge with a win over No. 5 Nebraska Saturday (Aug. 26) evening.
Coupled with Friday (Aug. 25) night’s four-set triumph over top-ranked Texas, the Gators won consecutive matches against top-five opponents for the first time in program history. Florida came up short in its previous six attempts to achieve the feat.
Once again the Gators were stingy defensively, holding Nebraska to a .155 hitting percentage. After only holding two top-five opponents under a .160 clip since 1998, the Gators did it in both their matches this weekend, limiting Texas to a .156 hitting percentage Friday night.
The offense struggled much of Saturday, finishing with a .214 clip. But, in the all-important fifth set, Florida hit .455, with three-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan and sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer combining for eight kills on nine attacks.
Kramer amassed a career-high 20 kills and hit a remarkable .679. She added three block assists to total a career-best 21.5 points. Kramer, who also had 11 kills and 13.5 points in the win over Texas, was named the VERT Challenge’s Most Valuable Player.
Defensively, senior Carli Snyder notched a career-high 27 digs, giving her 47 for the two matches this weekend. Fellow senior Caroline Knop finished with 17 digs and six assists, while redshirt junior Allie Monserez logged a career-best 20 digs and racked up 41 assists for a double-double.
Snyder and fifth-year senior Shainah Jospeh were named to the VERT Challenge All-Tournament Team.
* The Gators defeated Nebraska for just the third time in 11 matches, and for the third time in nine matches under Mary Wise
* Other two matches since 1998 when UF held a top-five foe under a .160 clip: at No. 4 Stanford (Sep. 6, 2003 – W, 3-0), vs. No. 3 Nebraska (Sep. 5, 1999 – L, 1-3)
* Entering Saturday’s match, Rachael Kramer had career highs of 13 kills and 15.5 points (both from Oct. 2, 2016 against Tennessee)
* After matching her career high with 20 digs Friday night, Carli Snyder’s 27 tonight blew that mark away
* Allie Monserez’s previous career high for digs was 16 at LSU on Oct. 14, 2016
Florida travels to San Juan, Puerto Rico for the SEC-ACC Challenge this Saturday (Sep. 2) and Sunday (Sep. 3). The Gators will face N.C. State and No. 11 North Carolina in a pair of 8:30 p.m. matches.