- #3 Florida def. #15 North Carolina 3-0, (25-17, 25-17, 25-23)
- Bayamon, Puerto Rico
- SEC-ACC Challenge
- Match Stats
#3 Florida notches their third top-20 win of the 2017 season with a three-set sweep of #15 North Carolina to close out the SEC-ACC Challenge in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. In the NCAA, Florida is now the only team to have three wins against top-20 opponents, with two of them coming against top-five ranked teams (#1 Texas and #5 Nebraska in week one).
The first set was a tight battle with the score tied up at 12-12 when Florida went on an 8-1 run to take a 20-13 lead. The run featured three straight blocks from the Gators, all featuring Rhamat Alhassan, two with Cheyenne Huskey and one with Carli Snyder. The lead was too much at that point for the Tar Heels to catch up as they dropped the first set 25-17.
The second set of the match was another close battle to start, but Florida chipped away small runs to take a few point lead that North Carolina couldn’t match to fall 25-17 in the second.
Florida took a four point lead in the third set at 12-8, but the Tar Heels had some fight in them to match a comeback and go up 19-17 late. The Gators found some momentum swing when North Carolina committed a service error followed by a Snyder kill, a block from Rachel Kramer/Snyder and an ace from Allie Monserez to go up 21-19. The Tar Heels eventually fought off two match points with kills from Taylor Leath, but a Shainah Joseph killed sealed the three-set sweep for the Gators at 25-23.
The Florida offense was too much for the Tar Heels, as the Gators put down 44 kills to North Carolina’s 28.
Leading the Gators on offense was Snyder with 11 kills and Kramer with 10. On defense at the net, Alhassan stopped nine balls while Huskey added six blocks of her own. From the back row, Caroline Knop picked up a match-best 15 digs while Paige Hammons added another 13.
For the Tar Heels, Leath led the squad with eight kills and 11 digs.
Courtesy of Florida Athletics
Florida defeated its third ranked opponent in four matches this season, sweeping No. 16 North Carolina Sunday (Sep. 3) to close the SEC-ACC Challenge in Puerto Rico.
The No. 3 Gators are the only team in the nation with three wins over top-20 opponents this season. Only one team in the nation amassed three wins over top-20 opponents the first two weeks of last season: Stanford, which won the NCAA title.
Florida’s defense led the way again, holding the Tar Heels to a .109 hitting percentage, the lowest by a Gators’ opponent this year. UF also matched its season high with 11.5 blocks.
Though the offense ground to a mere .270 clip, sophomore Rachael Kramer and fifth-year senior Shainah Joseph were quite efficient. Kramer totaled 10 kills and two errors on 14 attacks to hit .571, while Joseph tallied eight kills and one error on 13 attacks for a .538 clip.
Defensively, three-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan led the way with a season-high nine blocks. Sophomore setter Cheyenne Huskey amassed a career-high six blocks.
The first set saw Florida rattle off an 8-1 run with multiple blocks from Alhassan and Huskey, breaking a 12-12 tie. UF finished the opening set with seven blocks. Set two saw another tie around the midway point (14-14), and the Gators broke it open with a 7-0 run. They scored 11 of the final 14 points in the set.
Florida trailed 19-17 in the third set, but a lengthy service run from Allie Monserez followed by kills from Joseph and Kramer put the match away.
(COACH) WISE’S WORDS
“A great learning opportunity. The good news: I think we’ll have the players’ attention in practice next week. We’ll have some growing pains. There are some advantages with the two-setter offense, but it’s a little harder to get in the flow, and I didn’t think either setter was particularly sharp tonight. For them to learn how to go back-to-back nights—we didn’t do it that much (last week) against Nebraska—every time out it’s a new learning opportunity. Thought the passing of Paige Hammons was huge there.
“Twenty-eight swings by (our) middles in three sets is pretty good. That’s not too bad. And we passed well enough. We didn’t have one player with a ton of swings. We just forced a few to Carli (Snyder). I like starting Carli with her serve, but we’ve got to find how to get her on track offensively. As the match went on, CK served better. We need her to be able to run points for us.
“North Carolina was error-free, and so you’ve got to create points. We did it with the blocking and with the defense.” –Mary Wise on tonight’s match
- Florida has logged at least 11 blocks in three of their four matches this season
- The Gators have held all four of their opponents under a .175 hitting percentage this season
- Paige Hammons amassed a career-high 13 digs, topping her previous high of 11—which came in UF’s five-set win over No. 5 Nebraska last Saturday
- Cheyenne Huskey‘s previous career high for blocks was five against No. 1 Texas last Friday
- Carli Snyder has led the Gators in kills three of their four matches this season, including tonight against North Carolina (11 kills)
- Florida improves its all-time record against North Carolina to 12-1 and to 7-0 under Mary Wise
Florida returns to Gainesville, where it will host the Active Ankle Challenge Friday (Sep. 8) and Saturday (Sep. 9). The Gators face North Carolina-Greensboro and American to open the tournament, and close the weekend against No. 23 Michigan State.
Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics
No. 16 North Carolina took on its third top-10 opponent in four matches on Sunday night, battling No. 3 Florida in the finale of the ACC/SEC Puerto Rico Clasico. UNC played tough against the surging Gators, but became UF’s third ranked defeat of 2017, as Florida topped the Tar Heels, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-23). With the win, Florida improves to 4-0 while Carolina drops to 0-4.
Junior Taylor Leath led Carolina on offense and defense, tallying 11 digs and eight kills, while Beth Nordhorn followed with six kills and Taylor Borup and Holly Carlton each had five. Carlton played setter and hitter on Sunday night, hitting .385 and tallying 14 assists, while Kendra Koetter put up 10 assists.
Libero Mia Fradenburg followed Leath with seven digs, while Carlton and Sehrena Hull both had five. Fradenburg and Hull both also registered an ace.
The Tar Heel blocking unit showed improvement, registering its first double-digit performance of the year (10.5) behind six blocks by Taylor Fricano and five from Nordhorn. Redshirt freshman Katharine Esterley made her first career appearance, starting in the middle in the third set, and tallied two blocks and a kill.
Carolina took an early 6-4 lead and stretched it to 10-7 on a strong service run by Fricano, but the Gators tied the score at 11. Four consecutive blocks helped UF surge ahead, 20-13, and a kill by Rachael Kramer finished out the first for the Gators, 25-17.
The second set was reminiscent of the first, as a 14-14 tie turned into a 21-14 Florida lead, thanks to a seven-point run served out by Caroline Knop. A kill by Leath finally allowed the Tar Heels to rotate, but they were unable to dig themselves out of the hole, falling once again by a score of 25-17.
The third set was back and forth. Florida led 13-9, early, but back-to-back blocks by Fricano and Nordhorn and a Nordhorn kill cut the deficit to one. UF pushed back ahead, 15-12, but Fradenburg led Carolina on a 5-0 run capped off by a service ace to overtake the lead, 17-15. A block by Borup and Esterley made it 19-17, but Florida forced its way back, winning four straight to pull back in front, 21-19. A kill by Kramer set up Florida match point, but Leath wiped off two straight attempts with back-to-back kills to cut the lead to one. However, Shainah Joseph went cross court and tucked the ball just inside the back corner to close out the Florida sweep with a 25-23 win in the third.
“Although the results don’t always show it, I feel we’ve made progress,” said head coach Joe Sagula. “This team is maturing, and it’s given everybody some great hope for what we can do throughout the rest of the season.”
The Tar Heels open the home season on Friday, Sept. 6, hosting LIU-Brooklyn in the first match of the Carolina Classic. First serve of the home opener is set for 6:30 p.m.