Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 11 Florida Gators stayed unbeaten in conference play after sweeping Alabama on Sunday afternoon.
Florida won the first two sets, 25-20, then clinched match victory with a 26-24 win in the third set. The Gators improve to 13-3 on the season and extend their winning streak to nine matches.
UF moves to 4-0 in the SEC for the 23rd time under head coach Mary Wise.
The middles led the way offensively for Florida, with Taelor Kellum recording a career-high 12 kills and Rachael Kramer adding 10 of her own.
Allie Monserez dished out 18 assists, while Marlie Monserez registered 15 of her own.
The backcourt was controlled by Allie Gregory, who recorded 12 digs.
The Gators were a force at the net as well, recording 11 team blocks – including six by Kramer.
Florida returns home for two matches next weekend, facing Texas A&M on Friday night at 7 p.m. and Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans that are not able to make it to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center can catch both matches on the SEC Network.
How it Happened
– The Gators were down 8-7 in the first set, but the service run of Allie Monserez put the Gators up 14-9. From that point forward, UF held at least a four point lead over the Crimson Tide. The Gators had set point at 24-18, but Alabama chipped to bring it to within four at 24-20. After the 3-0 Bama run, Holly Carlton was able to secure the set with a kill to put UF up 1-0.
o Florida hit .222 in the set, racking up 13 kills along the way. Holly Carlton led with four kills, followed by three kills apiece from Taelor Kellum and Rachael Kramer. The Gators held Alabama to a .022 hitting percentage in the first frame.
– The second set was a back-and-forth affair, with the teams trading points going into the media timeout, where Alabama led 15-14. Florida came out of the timeout on a 4-0 run, led by kills from Thayer Hall and Rachael Kramer. The Gators led for the rest of the set, though Alabama pulled to within two at 22-20. A kill from Taelor Kellum and an ace by Thayer Hall clinched the victory for Florida and put the team up 2-0 in the match.
o The Gators only hit .133 in the second set, but notched 15 kills and held Alabama to a .086 clip. The middles were lighting it up during the second set, with Taelor Kellum recording five kills and Rachael Kramer registering four.
– Once again, the third set was a tight battle between the two squads, with the score being tied 20-20 late in the frame. Taelor Kellum pounded home an overpass to give Florida the 21-20 lead, but the Crimson Tide tied it right back up at 22-22. Alabama took the 23-22 lead, but back-to-back kills from Paige Hammons put Florida in the driver’s seat at 24-23. The Crimson Tide tied it up at 24-24, but Rachael Kramer secured the final two points with a kill and a block.
o UF hit .324 in the third set, collecting 14 kills in the process. Taelor Kellum recorded four kills in the frame, followed by three apiece by Rachael Kramer, Paige Hammons and Thayer Hall.
– Taelor Kellum finished with a career-high 12 kills – her previous career-high was 10 (Louisville, Sept. 2, 2018)
– Rachael Kramer also recorded double-digit kills for Florida, finishing with 10
– As a team, the Gators put up 11 blocks, led by Kramer’s six and Kellum’s four
– The Gators move to 45-0 all-time against Alabama
– Florida is now 41-0 against the Crimson Tide in three-set matches
– UF moves to 22-0 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
– The Gators improve to 6-0 in three-set matches this season
– Alabama has not taken a set from the Gators since Oct. 3, 2008
Thoughts from Coach Wise
– “This was a great win against an Alabama team that played really well, especially in their pursuit of balls in the back row. One of the keys to this win was the offensive production by our middles, which is a product of the job done by our back row and setters.”
Senior Middle Blocker Taelor Kellum
On her career-night:
– “I came out here just to play the game and have fun. Our pins were struggling a little bit, so they wanted more production to come from the middles. We were getting great passes to our setters and our setters were giving us good sets, so Rachael and I were able to step up. I was just out there having fun and doing what I need to do.”
– The Gators return home for two matches next weekend. Florida faces Texas A&M on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m.
– Both matches will air on the SEC Network