- #11 Florida def. South Carolina 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-19)
- Florida moves to 14-2 (3-1 SEC); South Carolina falls to 13-4 (1-3 SEC)
- Columbia, South Carolina (South Carolina hosted)
As communities both in the state of Florida and South Carolina clean up from the ravages of Hurricane Matthew all weekend, the University of each state matched up in Columbia on Sunday afternoon, and the 11th-ranked Florida Gators swept the Gamecocks 3-0.
Florida had two players in double-digit kills (Alex Holston with 11, and Rhamat Alhassan with 10), but freshman middle blocker Rachael Kramer was the hottest hand on the day. She hit .636 on the match with 8 kills, which makes 9 times this season in Florida’s 16 games where she’s hit higher than .500.
The Florida Gators were very physical at the net, especially in the first set where they had 6 blocks (to 0 for South Carolina), including 5 by Kramer – part of 11 team blocks on the day. That effort held South Carolina to just .030 as a team – their lowest output of the season.
South Carolina worked 15 out of their 17 players in the match, and got kills from 9 – meaning no single player amassed any significant total (Dessaa Legros had 6 kills).
Courtesy Florida Athletics:
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Junior All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan led the Gators with 15 points on 10 kills and six blocks as No. 11 Florida swept South Carolina (25-14, 25-19, 25-19) Sunday afternoon in Columbia in front of an ESPNU audience to improve to 14-2 on the season, 4-1 in conference play.
Senior right side Alex Holston joined Alhassan in double-digit kills with 11 as the duo combined for 27 of Florida’s 53 points in the Gators’ fourth conference win. Freshman middle blocker Rachael Kramer posted a team high .636 clip with eight kills and five blocks, giving the first-year Gator nine matches this season with a .500 efficiency or higher.
The story of the day was Florida’s ability to string together serving runs and post a physical block against the Gamecocks – six in the first, five in the second – as the Orange and Blue out-blocked the Gamecocks 6-0 in the opening frame and 11-6 in the match. Kramer posted all five of her roofs in the first set to get the Gators out to a hot start, 25-14.
After a 6-6 tie in the second frame, the Orange and Blue pulled away with a 9-1 run, thanks in part to an eight-point service run from junior libero Caroline Knop, including back-to-back aces. Knop finished the afternoon in Columbia with 17 digs, her third-most this season and most in a three-set match this year, as Florida capped off its 18th consecutive victory against USC with 25-19 second and third set final scores
WORDS FROM WISE
“We set the tone for the match with aggressive serving and quality blocking. It allowed us, when our offense wasn’t perfect, to make up for the mistakes. A lot of credit to our players, both front row and back row.”
South Carolina: 13-4, 1-4 SEC
No. 11 Florida: 14-2, 4-1 SEC
NOTABLES AND TRENDS
Florida moved to 12-1 this season when taking the first set after opening against the Gamecocks with a 25-14 first-set victory
The Gators’ two service aces: two from Caroline Knop, one each from Rhamat Alhassan and Carli Snyder, were their second-most in SEC play
UF held USC to a negative efficiency in the first set (-.069) and a .030 clip on the match. The Gators have now held 11 of 16 opponents this season under a .200 efficiency
Florida has now won 18 straight against the Gamecocks and now boasts a 25-5 record all-time in Columbia
The Gators out-blocked the Gamecocks 11-6, including six blocks in the first, five in the second. Florida has put together seven double-digit block efforts in the last nine matches and nine double-digit block matches this season
The Orange and Blue have played 11 of 16 matches so far this season on the road and will continue with a weekend set on the road next weekend at LSU, Texas A&M
UF is now 419-46 (.901) all-time in SEC play, including a 393-24 mark the past 25 seasons under Mary Wise.
The Orange and Blue will keep it on the road with matches at LSU and Texas A&M October 15 & 17 in Baton Rouge and College Station, respectively. The Gators and Tigers will stream live on SEC Network + at 8 p.m. ET, while Florida and Texas A&M will play in front of a live television audience on SEC Network at 5 p.m. ET.
Courtesy South Carolina Athletics:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Gamecock volleyball team lost at home Sunday afternoon to No. 11 Florida, 3-0. With the loss, the Gamecocks drop back to 13-4 overall, 1-4 in SEC play. The Gators improve to 14-2, 4-1.
1st Set: Florida led wire-to-wire to take the first set, 25-14. The Gamecocks hit just -.069 as a team due to an imposing front-line block from the Gators that featured middle blockers Rhamat Alhassan (6-foot-4) and Rachael Kramer (6-foot-8). South Carolina got as close as four, 14-10, late in the set, but Florida pulled away late behind an 8-2 run soon after that for the 1-0 match lead.
2nd Set: South Carolina came out strong to begin the second set, and fought its way to a 7-6 lead. Florida took back control thanks to a 9-0 run immediately after, though, and carried the lead to the finish. Dessaa Legros had two kills and a pair of blocks in the set, but five more blocks from Florida kept Carolina to just eight kills in total for the game.
3rd Set: The Gamecocks had their best set of the afternoon in the third, despite mixing a number of new faces into the lineup. Carolina held an early lead at 5-3, but Florida kept stringing together three- and four-point runs to take back control at the media timeout, 15-10. The Gators clinched the sweep with a 25-19 win in the third. Courtney Furlong led the team with four kills and three digs in the set, and Jesse Turner added two kills on four swings in the game.
STAT OF THE MATCH
South Carolina hit just .030 as a team for the match, its lowest of the season. Florida blocked 11 total attacks for the day, tied for the most by a Gamecock opponent this season.
Florida entered the match as the nation’s top hitting team, with a combined percentage of .336. The Gamecocks were able to hold the Gators to a .250 rate for the match Sunday.
The starting lineup had a different look Sunday, with Abreia Epps and Courtney Koehler getting the start in place of Aubrey Ezell and Jacqy Angermiller, and Joely Cabrera in for Megan Kirkland at libero.
15 players saw extended playing time for the Gamecocks, with Jesse Turner (two kills) and Courtney Furlong (four kills) playing most of the third set in the front row and Savannah Murray (two digs) stepping in to the back row.
The Gamecocks hit the road for two matches next weekend. First will be a Friday night match at Texas A&M, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Then, on Sunday, Carolina will take on LSU in Baton Rouge on ESPNU. First serve is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET.