- August 25, 2018
- Lincoln, Nebraska (Bob Devaney Sports Center)
- #6 Texas def. #7 Florida 3-2 (25-18, 21-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-10)
- Texas improves to 2-0; Florida falls to 1-1
- Box Score
The VERT Challenge, hosted by the University of Nebraska has provided four of the top volleyball teams in the nation a chance to test themselves early in the season. #7 Florida opened their 2018 season with a win over #3 Nebraska in front of 8,435 Cornhusker fans. The downside of playing in such a high-powered tournament is that there is no time to enjoy such a big victory. Less than 24 hours later they were back on the floor against #6 Texas. Texas was coming off an impressive 3-1 win over #13 Oregon.
It was only fitting that this match go to the tie-break. Texas showed a great deal of mental fortitude after going down 2-1. They trailed in the 4th set but pulled it out 25-21. Florida looked to have wrapped up a win when they jumped to a 9-5 lead in the 5th set, but Texas went on a 4-0 run. A Brionne Butler block closed the gap to just a single point, and another one tied it at 9-9. The Longhorns took their first lead of the set at 11-10. Texas secured the victory when Micaya White got the block on a high-ball attack out of the back row from the Gators to finish the set and the match 15-10.
Texas put up 4 blocks late in the 5th set and held Florida to a dismal -.125 hitting percentage in the final set. They out-blocked Florida 20 – 7 on the match. Texas outhit the Gators .251 – .170. Morgan Johnson led the way for the Texas defense at the net with 10 block assists and a solo block. Butler contributed 2 solo blocks and 7 block assists. Katarina Luketic chipped in 8 block assists.
White was the leading scorer for the Longhorns. The outside hitter put away 17 kills to go with her 4 block assists to end the match with 19 points. Luketic was right behind her with 14 kills to end up with 18 points on the night. Ashley Shook got a total of 17 kills out of the middle with Butler contributing 9, and Butler putting away 8. Shook finished the match 47 assists and 14 digs. Their libero, Sydney Petersen, led the Longhorns with 19 digs.
Despite going 5 sets, Florida only had a pair of players producing double-digit kills. Thayer Hall finished the match with a match-high 21 kills and a .203 hitting percentage. Holly Carlton hit .360 while contributing 11 kills. Rachael Kramer had 8 kills and 4 block assists, but hit.000 on the afternoon. Taelor Kellum also put away 8 kills with 3 block assists and hit .267. Paige Hammons almost reached double digits with 9 kills and a .071 hitting percentage with 2 service aces. Allie Gregory also scored 2 points from the service line and led the Gators with 16 digs. Florida employed a 6-2 offense throughout the match. Marlie Monsarez finished with 29 assists, and her sister, Allie Monsarez contributed 28 assists in the defeat.
Florida will host the Buble Invitational next weekend in Gainesville. They are set to face #10 USC, Lousiville, and the University of Southern Florida. Texas will travel to Madison, Wisconsin to play in the Hotelred Invitational. They will play High Point University and #4 Wisconsin.