We are now seven weeks into the 2017 NCAA volleyball season and there is just one team that is the lone undefeated squad left in the Division I field – Florida.
The Gators are sitting at an 11-0 record thus far in the season and are three matches behind as they had to cancel a number of contests due to the threat of Hurricane Irma. This was the team’s annual Active Ankle Challenge to where they would have faced off against Michigan State, UNC Greensboro and American.
Now, the team has a 3-0 start to SEC play where they have downed Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU. From here on out, the Gators will compete in only SEC matches until NCAA tournament time. From the looks of their SEC schedule, they don’t have much of a challenge to continue on their undefeated path. However, this is a preemptive statement, as there have been many upsets over the course of the preseason and beginning of conference play around the country.
Who Has A Shot Of Downing The Gators?
- Arkansas – with one match under the two teams belts, and a five-setter at that, the Razorbacks have a solid chance of downing the Gators on their November 10 meeting. Though, Arkansas is not the flashiest team in the country they do have a solid option in Pilar Victoria who has downed 367 kills on the year for a hitting average of .312.
- Kentucky – the two teams have yet to meet this season but the Wildcats have held their own so far this season – winning most of their matches in three or four sets. On the Wildcats squad, Madison Lilley is one to watch at the setter position, she has dished out 586 assists so far this season for an average of 11.72 assists per set. Additionally, Leah Edmonds will be one to watch for the Wildcats as she has posted 213 kills on the year.
How Does Florida Stay On Top?
Currently, Florida sits at #1 in both the VolleyMob and AVCA Coaches Rankings. How do they continue to hold onto this position?
So far this year, Florida has stayed consistent in their play, holding off their opponents in kill 540 to 430 and eliminating their own offensive errors. In total, the Gators are hitting .277 on the year and this is enough consistency to help them going forward – but they are also holding their opponents to a low .140 hitting clip this season, which surely plays a big role, too.
Who is contributing big for the team?
Three players are consistent offensive threats for the Gators – Rhamat Alhassan, Carli Snyder and Rachael Kramer. So far this season they all have posted over 100 kills for the team in just 39 sets of play along with Snyder’s 24 aces.
Alhassan – 106 kills for an average of 2.72 kills per set on a .377 hitting clip
Snyder – 139 kills for an average of 3.56 kills per set on a .233 hitting percentage
Kramer – 108 kills for an average of 2.77 kills per set on a .458 hitting clip
On defense, Alhassan has posted 70 blocks on the year while Kramer has added another 39. In the backcourt, Caroline Knop has picked up 186 digs while Snyder has added in another 140.
The squad is also running a two-setter system or a 6-2, which allows for six hitters to be in play across the rotations around the court. This gives the Gators more options for attacking and more for their opponents blockers to think about. Both Cheyenne Huskey and Allie Monserez have dished out consistent sets for their teammates. Huskey has handed out 157 assists for an average of 4.36 assists per set while Monserez has recorded 278 assists for an average of 7.13 assists per set.
The Gators have a long season ahead of them but will take on Texas A&M on October 4 and Georgia on October 8 at home for their upcoming matches.