Match Notebook: How Did Florida Defeat Defending Champion Stanford?

  0 Derek Johnson | December 15th, 2017 | College - Women's Indoor, News, Pac 12, SEC

The Florida Gators are moving on to the National Championship match on Saturday night, but how exactly did they take out defending National Champion Stanford? Let’s do a set-by-set breakdown with a notebook from the match:

Set 1 (25-22, Florida)

  • Stanford was uncorking the ball long plenty early going for the back line and Florida jumped ahead 12-8
    • A lot of attacks from near the 10-foot line
      • Had good enough passes to get swings, but not the best passes and sets early for good looks
  • Florida’s defense had held three top 10 opponents to marks at .170 or below: Texas, Nebraska and Kentucky
  • They continued to flex their defensive muscle and held Stanford to .205 in the first set
    • The Cardinal came into the match hitting .322 (Third in the country)
  • The passing for Florida was night and day to their previous match vs. USC when they struggled immensely.
    • Hit .250 in the opening set
  • Combination of better passing, strong defense/Stanford errors put Florida ahead 24-20 before they ended it at 25-22

Set 2 (25-21, Florida)

  • Florida continued to play strong early in the second and led 14-10. From there Stanford finally found a bit of rhythm and came back to take the lead 18-16 on an 8-2 run
    • Merete Lutz was key to the offense early and throughout and totaled 19 kills (.447) and was the top option
  • Allie Monserez had nine assists, four digs, one ace in the first while Cheyenne Huskey had four assists in the first set. Huskey struggled in the second as part of that Stanford run
  • Florida subbed Monserez back in and sure enough went on a 6-0 run to go ahead 22-18
  • Kathryn Plummer may have finally been tired or may have just been pressing
    • Seven kills with three errors on 24 swings (.167) in the first two sets
    • Consistently takes large swing totals every match and has the 6’6″ frame to absorb it, but maybe by this point in the season it caught up or maybe it was just an exception to her great season
    • She did pick it up in the next two sets and ended with 16 kills, but still hit just .217
  • Florida balance on both ends too much though.
  • Was Stanford playing bad or was Florida playing really good? Probably a bit of both
    • Lots of unforced Stanford errors, but Florida did their part with strong passing and serving as well as not playing into the Cardinal block

Set 3 (25-18, Stanford)

  • Florida reading the block a tad bit better than Stanford
    • Both teams came in at over three blocks per set but Florida out-blocked Stanford 9-6
  • Stanford finally found its groove after an 8-8 tie and went on a 12-4 run
  • Plummer had six kills on 10 swings (no errors) in the third
  • Merete Lutz continued her strong performance and had the final three points in the set for Stanford
    • Plummer and Lutz combined for the final seven Stanford kills in the set too
  • Stanford hit .452 in the third and held Florida to a .179 mark

Set 4 (25-18, Stanford)

  • Stanford continuing to find more success offensively as they passed better, but the defense also came up big
    • Morgan Hentz, who had 25 digs for the match, was fantastic and made some incredible plays
  • Florida had their worst passing set of the match
  • Finally the Gators picked some things back up and tightened the end of the set, but it was little too late as after they made it 21-17, Stanford sprinted to the finish line at 25-18
  • A set filled with balance for Stanford as they hit .345 and held Florida to a .111 mark – the worst for either team in any set
    • Stanford got two or more kills from six different players in the fourth set alone
      • Jenna Gray was ultra aggressive from the setter spot with six kills on seven tries for the match and had three in the game, including the final point in the set
      • Lutz also added three while Plummer had two
      • The others with a pair were Meghan McClure, who picked things up as the match went on and totaled 11 kills and 12 digs
      • Tami Alade and Audriana Fitzmorris also each added a pair in what was their best set, but they had trouble making a connection with Gray and combined for just 13 kills on the match with nine errors on 41 attempts (.098).

Set 5 (15-10, Florida)

  • A 7-1 Florida run proved they had it all figured out as it put them ahead 9-4
  • Stanford punched back though, but it was brief
  • Rhamat Alhassan and Carli Snyder put Florida on their back
    • Each had three kills in the fifth set
    • Snyder would total 16 kills, nine digs for the match
    • Alhassan was maybe the MVP with 17 kills on a .517 mark to go with four blocks
  • Morgan Hentz continued to be ridiculous and made some incredible digs, but the Florida defense flexed its muscle again, which was enough to combine with Alhassan and Snyder for the 15-10 win
    • Florida hit .207 in the fifth with that defense being their calling card in holding Stanford to a -.040 mark.

Behind improved serve receive and a defense that held Stanford almost seven percentage points below their normal hitting percentage, the Gators survived the late Cardinal onslaught for the five set victory. They’ll look for one more victory in the National Championship on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET in the Sprint Center in what will be similar to a road environment against Nebraska. They won the previous meeting with the Huskers in five sets, but Nebraska was without their star starter. If you can’t catch the match live or on TV, you’ll be able to follow along with in-match analysis and thoughts from others in the volleyball world on our VolleyMob National Championship Live Blog.

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