- Florida defeats Arkansas 3-0
- Florida finishes regular season 26-3
- Arkansas finishes regular season 9-21
Alex Holston notched 24 kills in just 3 sets as Florida swept Arkansas and clinched a share of the SEC title.
Holston’s 24 kills ties a school record for a 3-set match, joining a Jenny Manz effort from 1996. She was joined by teammates Rhamat Alhassan (12), Rachael Kramer (10) and Carli Snyder (10) in double-digit kills in what was a kill-fest for the Gators.
Florida improved to 16-2 in the SEC and will share the conference title with Missouri. The Tigers earn the conference’s automatic NCAA bid based on the head-to-head tiebreaker, but both teams are very likely in to the NCAA tournament with top-16 seeds. The NCAA Selection Show is this evening on ESPNU – Volleymob will be providing live coverage both on Twitter (@Volleymob) and on the live site.
Arkansas couldn’t pull out a 10th win, but did get 14 kills from Savannah Voelzke in likely her last career match. Freshman Rachel Rippee provided some hope for the future with 36 assists and 10 digs.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Florida volleyball team topped Arkansas in straight sets (34-32, 26-24, 25-15), clinching at least a share of the program’s 22nd SEC title.
Florida’s 22 SEC titles are tied for the 10th-most in conference history in any sport, regardless of gender. The Gators’ 22 league titles are also the fourth-most by any SEC team, regardless of sport or gender, since 1979, the first season the conference crowned a volleyball champion.
With a win this evening, Missouri, which enters its 7:30 p.m. ET match with Tennessee at 15-2 in league play, can make this the first split SEC title since 2004.
Three-time All-American right side Alex Holston led the Gators with a season-high 24 kills, tying Jenny Manz (Oct. 13, 1996) for the most by a UF player in a three set match since at least 1996. It was also just the 15th time this season any Division I player tallied 24-plus kills in a three-set match.
Holston notched 11 kills in her first 14 attacks, and went on to total 14 in the opening set alone. The four-time All-SEC honoree racked up another seven kills on 11 attacks in the second set, and added three more on her only three attacks in the closing set.
But Holston was just one of four Gators who finished with double-digit kills, as junior All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan (12), freshman middle blocker Rachael Kramer (10), and 2016 All-SEC outside hitter Carli Snyder (10) joined her in double figures. The last time four Gators had double-digit kills in a sweep was last year against Oregon (Sep. 4).
Redshirt sophomore setter Allie Monserez set up nearly all of UF’s 61 kills, amassing 52 assists, the highest three-set total by a Gator since Angie McGinnis had 52 in a sweep of Oklahoma back on Nov. 30, 2007.
No. 9 Florida: 26-3, 16-2 SEC
Arkansas: 9-21, 7-11 SEC
NOTABLES AND TRENDS
- Florida’s 22 SEC titles since 1979 only trails Florida women’s tennis (29), Arkansas men’s cross country (24), and Georgia men’s tennis (23) for the most by any SEC team, regardless of sport or gender, during that span.
- Among Florida programs, UF’s 22 SEC volleyball titles only trail men’s swimming and diving (37) and women’s tennis (29) for the most all-time SEC titles.
- Florida last won the SEC title in 2014, posting an 18-0 record in league play that season.
- If Missouri wins this evening, it will be just the fourth time in league history and first time since 2004 the SEC crowned multiple champions.
- The only shared titles to this point are: 2004 (Florida, Tennessee), 1991 (Florida, LSU), 1986 (Georgia, LSU).
- Florida improves its all-time record against Arkansas to 38-4, including a 16-2 mark in Fayetteville.
- Today marked Florida’s first sweep in Fayetteville since 2009.
- The combined 66 points in the first set marked the most in any set for the Gators since the 25-point scoring format was adopted in 2008, with their highest total prior to today coming in a 33-31 set win at LSU on Nov. 21, 2010.
- Alex Holston had six career 20-kill matches entering today, and she notched her seventh with the score at 17-15 in the second set.
- Florida also had four players with 10-plus kills at Ole Miss (Sep. 23) and against Tennessee (Oct. 2), both of which were four-set matches.
QUOTES FROM THE GATORS
Head coach Mary Wise on the team’s victory…
“From afar it will look like a 3-0 win, but anybody who saw it knows it was much closer than that. A senior-laden Arkansas team played very well. Fortunately, we got an All-American performance from Alex Holston to pull out this one.”
Wise on clinching a share of the SEC title and looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament…
“Now we look at it like we’re 0-0. Every team going into the NCAA Tournament is 0-0. Happy to win at least part of an SEC championship, but now we move forward.”
The Gators will learn their NCAA Tournament First Round matchup Sunday (Nov. 27) night at 9 p.m. ET, when the 64-team field is revealed during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPNU. Head coach Mary Wise is scheduled to make an appearance in the second half of the hour-long broadcast.
Check FloridaGators.com on Sunday night and Monday (Nov. 28
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Playing its season finale, the University of Arkansas volleyball team saved eight points in the first two sets against No. 9 Florida before the Gators came away with the straight-set victory at Barnhill Arena. Savannah Voelzke capped her Razorback career with a team-high 14 kills while freshman setter Rachel Rippee registered her seventh double-double with 36 assists and 10 digs.
Prior to the match, the Razorbacks recognized the senior class of Voelzke, Barbara Dapic, Danielle Harbin, Breana Jones, Ana Sofia Jusino and Adrien Wohlschlaeger. Arkansas finishes the season with a 9-21 overall record and 7-11 mark in SEC play, having won six of their last nine matches down the stretch.
#9 Florida 3, Arkansas 0 (34-32, 26-24, 25-15) | Box Score
Attendance: 783 | Time: 1:43
Barnhill Arena (Fayetteville, Ark.)
• Leaders vs. #9 Florida
o Kills: Savannah Voelzke – 14 (ties career high)
o Digs: Rachel Rippee – 10
o Blocks: Ana Sofia Jusino – 5.0 (0-5)
o Rachel Rippee – 36 assists, 10 digs
Dapic continued her strong finish to the season with nine kills coupled with a .333 hitting percentage against Florida (26-3, 16-2 SEC). Saturday marked her ninth match of the season with at least nine kills, six of which came against SEC teams. In the middle, Jones tallied seven kills to go along with a .353 hitting percentage. Rippee set the offense to a .272 efficiency, 103 points higher than Florida’s opponent hitting percentage during conference play.
With seven kills in the match, Harbin increased her season total to 464 which stands as the 14th-highest single-season total in program history. Her 4.22 kills per set average ranks ninth on Arkansas’ all-time season list, a figure that also projects as a top-40 national mark for the year.
In the back-and-forth first set, the Razorbacks saved six set points and had three chances of their own to win the opener. Florida led by as many as four points early in the set but a Jones-Voelzke tandem block evened the score at 15-all, one of the 18 ties in the first frame. Arkansas had its third set point at 32-21 but the visitors responded with three-straight points to secure the 1-0 match lead. It was the Razorbacks’ longest set (points played) of the season.
After another even start in the second, Florida used a surge to take a 22-19 lead and force an Arkansas timeout. However, Voelzke and Jusino capped a 3-0 run with a block to tie the score at 22-all. The Razorbacks went on to save two more set points with a Dapic kill and Florida attack error but the Gators responded with the next two points to win the second. Early in the third, Florida used a 6-2 run to create a cushion on the scoreboard on its way to the win in the regular-season finale for both teams.
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