2017 NCAA TOURNAMENT – GAINESVILLE POD
- November 30th-December 1st, 2017
- Round 1
- O’Connell Center//Gainesville, Florida
- Tournament Central
In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the two favorites won to advance to the second round. The region’s host, Florida, put on an impressive performance while Miami (FL) was challenged by a College of Charleston team who upset Baylor earlier in the year. The result though is Florida and Miami advance and will meet for an intra-state affair on Friday.
MIAMI (FL) DEF. CHARLESTON 3-1 (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15)
- Miami (FL) improves to 22-5; College of Charleston falls to 27-6
- Attendance: 1,000
- Box Score
In the first NCAA Tournament match to start of the 2017 season, Miami (FL) overcame a difficult mid-major challenge by downing College of Charleston in four sets. The win pushes the Hurricanes to the second round on Friday.
Most impressive in the match for Miami (FL) was an aggressive serve as the Hurricanes dealt with 12 serve errors by recording 10 aces. The biggest piece t of that serve – even through the mistakes – was the ability to keep College of Charleston out of system as they hit just .176. While four players had an ace for Miami, four alone came from Hannah Sorensen.
Besides that serve, Miami came out with a good attack and block, led by ACC Player of the Year Olga Strantzali (14 kills, .367, eight digs, three aces, two blocks), Elizaveta Lukianova (14 kills, .435, two blocks) and Haley Templeton (47 assists, nine digs, six blocks, four kills).
College of Charleston responded in the second set though, as they found a bit of footing against the Miami (FL) serve and established Kennedy Madison (11 kills, .455, four blocks). Jane Feddersen (six kills, .455, five blocks) also proved to be efficient.
However, the combination of the Miami (FL) offense, blocking and serve kept the College of Charleston possession out of sorts enough that many of their top options had swings in difficult spots. That was shown as the top three (besides Madison who was tied for third) in attacks for the Cougars had 24 kills to 18 errors and hit just .080 as the Hurricanes block was very adept at getting to the pins.
College of Charleston’s season now comes to a close with a strong 27-6 season while Miami (FL) puts their record to the test against the #2 seed in the event in the Florida Gators. It’ll be a bit of a Florida in-state rivalry as the Hurricanes have the opportunity to stun the volleyball world with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line on Saturday.
#2 FLORIDA DEF. ALABAMA STATE 3-0 (25-9, 25-13, 25-9)
- #2 Florida improves to 26-1; Alabama State falls to 28-11
- Attendance: 2,215
- Box Score
In the second match of the pod, the highest ranked team in the region in #2 Florida impressed from start to finish. That worked to the tune of a 3-0 sweep as the Gators advance to yet another NCAA second round appearance.
It had to be difficult for Alabama State right away when Florida came out to play and won the first game 25-9, as the tone was set. From there, things weren’t much different as Florida surrendered just 31 total points over the course of three sets.
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that the Gators did that stands out above the rest because they excelled in so many categories. For one, the offense hit .446. On the defensive side, they held Alabama State to a -0.014 mark. Finally, in the serve game they out-aced Alabama State 11-0.
As she has done all season long, Carli Snyder did a little bit of it all, as she was second on the team with eight kills, six digs, three aces and also hit .353 with three assists. She was only behind Shainah Joseph (nine kills, .533) in kills and Paige Hammons (four aces) in serving.
The win sets up an in-state meeting in the second round for Florida as they take on Miami (FL). They’ll be on high alert after a similarly dubbed match with Florida State was their downfall in 2016, although this team has been stronger than last year’s. That match for a Sweet 16 spot takes place on Friday as the Gators look for the third of Snyder’s career.