- No. 9 Florida Gators Defeat Texas A&M Aggies (27-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16)
- Team’s Record: Florida (16-2) (6-1 in SEC), Texas A&M (11-7) (5-2 in SEC)
- Schedules: Florida here, Texas A&M here
The Texas A&M Aggies’ five-match winning streak came to an end on their home court, Reed Arena, against the No. 9 Florida Gators. The four-set match was tight, with Florida winning just seven more points than the Aggies. The Gators also had just four more kills and five less errors than the home team.
Florida was led by Rhamat Alhassan, who totaled 22 kills and 10 blocks. Those were her strongest numbers of the season, and the highest among any player on the court. Alex Holston had the second most kills on the court, with 17, and also contributed 3 blocks and 11 digs. Carli Snyder, like Holston, had a double-double too, with 11 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Allie Monserez had a great day passing the ball, recording 57 assists, while Caroline Knop led the match in digs with 24. Knop also had the Gators’ only service ace.
The Aggies fought hard and played a strategic match, just coming up a bit short in the fourth set. Four different players had double-digit kills: Kiara McGee (14 kills, 2 blocks), Hollann Hans (14 kills, 4 blocks), Ashlie Reasor (12 kills, 2 blocks) and Kaitlyn Blake (11 kills, 6 blocks). Stephanie Aiple had 50 assists, and Amy Nettles had 21 digs for Texas A&M. Amy Houser tallied a match-high two service aces, in addition to posting 10 digs.
Up next, Florida will host SEC opponent Mississippi State this Friday, October 21st, at 7pm. Texas A&M, meanwhile, will next play a struggling Georgia team in Athens, Georgia, although the Lady Bulldogs should be well-rested. Their match will also be played on Friday, October 21st, at 6pm.
Courtesy of Florida Athletics:
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Junior All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan turned in one of the best performances by an SEC player this season, leading the No. 9 Gators to a 3-1 victory over defending conference champion Texas A&M on Sunday (Oct. 16) evening.
Alhassan amassed 27.5 points on 22 kills and 10 blocks—all season highs—while hitting at a .528 clip. The Glenarden, Md. native is the only SEC player this season to record 20-plus kills and 10 blocks in a match.
Senior right side Alex Holston (17 kills, 11 digs) and junior outside hitter Carli Snyder (11 kills, 12 digs) logged double-doubles for the Gators. It was Snyder’s team-best seventh of the season and third in UF’s last four matches. Holston’s double-double was her second of the year.
Nearly all of UF’s season-high 64 kills were dished out by redshirt sophomore setter Allie Monserez, who tied her career high with 57 assists—which also equaled the highest total by any SEC player in a 4-set match this season.
The tale of the match was once again the Gators’ defense. UF registered 14 total blocks, five of which came in the match-clinching fourth set, and held Texas A&M to a .184 hitting percentage. The Gators have held 13 of their 18 opponents this season under a .200 clip.
UF opened and closed the match on lengthy runs sparked by service play from junior libero Caroline Knop. On their way to a victory in the first set, the Gators won nine of the match’s first 12 points. Knop went on to serve out the final six points of the match.
WORDS FROM THE GATORS
Florida head coach Mary Wise‘s overall thoughts on the win…
“That was like two heavyweight boxers coming out in the ring early. The first set was such high-level volleyball with neither team giving an inch. It took a special performance from Rhamat (Alhassan) for us to win in four. Her performance will go down in the books.”
Florida junior middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan on her performance today….
“It’s just a lot of what we’ve been working on in practice finally starting to click. Allie (Monserez) and I had a great connection. Our passing was awesome. Everything just started clicking. Hopefully it continues on through the season. We got the win. It’s just a really good win for us.
No. 9 Florida: 16-2, 6-1 SEC
Texas A&M: 11-7, 5-2 SEC
NOTABLES AND TRENDS
- Florida improves to 12-1 all-time against Texas A&M, and boasts a 5-1 mark in College Station following Sunday’s victory
- Today was the first time in UF’s last four trips to College Station the match did not go to a fifth set
- The Gators set season highs in points (79), kills (64), assists (62), and digs (75)
- UF’s 62 assists tied the third-highest total by an SEC team in a 4-set match this season, while its 75 digs matched the fourth-best total by a league team in a 4-set match this year
- Rhamat Alhassan‘s 10 blocks tied the third-highest total by an SEC player in a 4-set match this season
- Alhassan’s 27.5 points were the fifth-most by an SEC player in a 4-set match this year, and the third-highest total by an SEC player in a 4-set league match this season
- Alex Holston‘s 11 digs tied her season high, which she set against Tennessee (Oct. 2)
- Shainah Joseph accrued a season-best six blocks and tied her season high for points (11)
- Allie Monserez matched her season highs in kills (two) and blocks (four)
- Chanelle Hargreaves‘ five digs tied the season high she set against LSU on Friday
Florida returns to Gainesville for a four-match homestand at the Lemerand Athletic Center, where the Gators are 4-1 this season. The run of four straight home matches begins Friday (Oct. 21) at 7 p.m. ET against Mississippi State, and continues with a 12 p.m. ET matchup versus Georgia on Sunday (Oct. 23).
Friday’s match will be streamed live on SEC Network + via Watch ESPN, while Sunday’s match will be televised by SEC Network.
Courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics:
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Four Texas A&M players recorded double-figure kills, but ninth-ranked Florida pulled away for a 27-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16 victory today in front of 2,624 at Reed Arena.
The loss snapped the Aggies’ five-match win streak, as they fall to 11-7 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference matches. Florida improves to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in SEC play after picking up its fourth consecutive straight victory.
Texas A&M got off to slow starts in several sets, including the opening frame as the Aggies spotted the Gators the first five points of the match. Florida went on to take its largest lead at 12-6 before the Aggies began to chip away at the lead, managing to get within 22-21 following back-to-back kills by junior opposite hitter Ashlie Reasor and senior middle blocker Jazzmin Babers. After trading sideouts, Carli Snyder put the Gators at set point, 24-22, with her sixth kill. Babers countered with a kill, and sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn Blake and junior setter Stephanie Aiple teamed for a block to tie the score for the first time. A&M was whistled for a ball handling error on the next play to put Florida at set point for the second time, but the Gators hit wide to tie the score, 25-25. Florida, which outhit A&M .250 to .226 in the stanza, then got a kill and a block to pull out the win.
The roles were reversed in the second set, with Texas A&M using a 5-0 run to build a 7-3 lead. Florida cut the deficit to 8-6 before A&M outscored the Gators, 4-1, including back-to-back kills by Blake to give the Aggies their largest lead, 12-7. Florida mounted a comeback, getting within 15-14 before a kill by freshman outside hitter Hollann Hans began a 4-1 rally by the Aggies. Florida was within 22-19 when Reasor put down a kill and Babers and junior outside hitter Kiara McGee got a block to put the Aggies at set point. The Gators, who were outhit, .385 to .302, staved off two set points with consecutive kills before Aiple and Babers blocked Snyder to close out the set and even the match at a set apiece.
Florida jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the third set before Hans and Blake led the Aggies on a 4-0 charge to get within 8-7. A&M, however, was unable to take the lead, and Florida later used a 4-0 surge to build a 15-9 cushion. The Gators maintained the 6-point advantage at 22-16 when the Maroon and White made another late charge, scoring five unanswered points to get within 22-21. An attack error ended the run, but Florida hit long on the ensuing play and McGee and Babers stuff blocked Rhamat Alhassan to tie the set for the first time since 1-1. A&M, though, hit wide to put the Gators at set point, and Florida, which outhit A&M, .149 to .089, ended the stanza as Shainah Joseph’s attack fell to the open center court for a kill.
There were seven ties in the fourth set, the last coming at 15-all before the Gators quickly separated from the Aggies. Florida, which hit .281 while holding A&M to a .027 hitting percentage in the set, got three consecutive kills to go up, 18-15, forcing A&M to call a timeout. Blake got a kill coming out of the timeout, but it would be the Aggies’ final point as Florida reeled off seven unanswered points, three points courtesy of consecutive Aggie attack errors to close out the match.
Hans tied McGee for team-high honors in kills with a career-high 14 and also finished with career highs in points (16) and blocks (4). Reasor finished with 12 kills and Blake pitched in 11 kills, with Aiple dishing out 50 assists.
Blake also had a team-high six blocks to head-up the front row defense, and libero Amy Nettles had a season-high 21 digs while captaining the back row defense. Defensive specialists Victoria Arenas and Amy Houser contributed 13 and 10 digs, respectively, as Texas A&M finished with a season-high 71 digs as a team.
Alhassan had a match-high 22 kills while hitting at a .528 clip to lead the Gators to a .241 to .184 hitting percentage advantage. The 6-4 middle blocker completed a double-double with 10 blocks as Florida outblocked A&M, 14-10. Libero Caroline Knop led all players with 24 digs.
The loss prevented Texas A&M head coach Laurie Corbelli from notching the 600th victory of her head coaching career as well as her 500th at A&M in front of the home crowd. Her next chance for the milestone victory will be Friday as Texas A&M returns to the road Friday to take on Georgia (13-7, 1-6 SEC). First serve is at 6 p.m. (CT), at the Ramsey Center in Athens, Georgia, and the match will be streamed on SEC Network +, available on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Texas A&M is 5-0 against the Bulldogs since joining the SEC.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH LAURIE CORBELLI
On Rhamat Alhassan and Florida’s defense…
“She’s a nice player. They’re all really nice players. We are all really nice players. They only out blocked us by four, and those four happened at the end of the match. We were pretty even with them, so I felt like we shot ourselves in the foot by backing off. I don’t think we did it intentionally, but we just got blocked. Once our offense got stopped once or twice, we backed off. We just prevented ourselves from having a chance at the end, but we were playing great volleyball for three sets. I’m just so proud of how good this team and how balanced we are. One serving error, that is just some awesome stuff going on on the court. It was hard to not be able to finish, but we feel like we backed off.”
On starting sets…
“A lot of times it is just getting our offense going. I guess it is various things actually. Sometimes our passing has been the culprit. In general, when we lost [sets] one and three, we were down a lot in the first 10 points. We had to fight back. If we can learn how to have stronger starts against teams like this, then we get our wheels turning faster and we might see more success.”
On Rhamat Alhassan and Alex Holston …
“That’s a lot of pressure to put on a team. [Rhamat] Alhassan and [Alex] Holston in the same rotation, you have to honor both of them. I thought their libero [Caroline Knop] did a great job. Their [defensive specialists] did a beautiful job of making it where the setter could legitimately get great sets to both of them. It does put a ton of pressure on your block and on your defense. That was definitely tough.”
On improving as a team…
“I love this team. I don’t think they realize how good they are and how much talent they have. I think we are going to be better in a week and that we have gotten better every week. I think that’s the way it is supposed to be. We aren’t supposed to be peaking right now. However, this was a match that could have been really important. At the same time, we have 11 matches ahead of us. We are just trying to get better each week and make it noticeable for the players, so that they can gain confidence and momentum and have a great end to October. That’s what we are shooting for. It’s a long season. It’s a grind, but I think we are handling the middle of it beautifully. I’m really proud of this team. They bust their tails on the floor for this team, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
On Texas A&M’s errors…
“Honestly, it’s hard to really know what caused it. I can just see the result of what was going on. We really can’t put our finger on it completely. We were aggressively going at their block early. We were passing more aggressively early. It seemed like our game was just a lot more aggressive in the first hour and a half. That last half hour, I can’t really answer what it was. I think that the players will probably meet and talk about their experience and what they want to change when they are out on the floor. I expect that we will see a different result the next time we are in that kind of situation.”
TEXAS A&M SENIOR MIDDLE BLOCKER JAZZMIN BABERS
On comparing Florida to Texas A&M’s pre-season ranked opponents…
“Every ranked team that we have played so far has been amazing; that’s probably why they are ranked. I think they vary in the difference of preseason. I feel like it was one person kind of hurting us consistently, and Florida, clearly, by their numbers had multiple people coming at us. They are a great team all around, back row and front row.”
On earning points…
“It was a fight the whole match. The points, I think, just brought a lot of energy. Stephanie [Aiple] is a great setter, so a lot of those points are from her just saving amazing balls that are right on the tape. It makes it easy for me when she jumps and takes two blockers with her.”
On post-game notes from the team…
“I feel like we will get a lot of good feedback from the people on the bench and what they saw. Then just compare it with how people felt on the court. I feel like in the fourth set we did kind of let down a little bit with our energy, so we’ll probably just talk about why that happened and then just other ways in which we can improve.”