RV Missouri def. #11 Florida 3-2 (25-23, 16-25, 25-17, 13-25, 17-15)
- RV Missouri Tigers move to 18-4 (8-2 SEC); #11 Florida fall to 18-4 (9-2 SEC)
- O’Connell Center, Gainesville, Florida
- Attendance: 2,651
- Box Score
- Press Releases: Florida / Mizzou
The last time Missouri and Florida faced off, on November 25th, 2017, Missouri won the first set 25-23, and the Gators then rolled to a 3-1 win. Early on in Sunday’s rematch, it looked as though that pattern might be repeating, after Missouri won set 1 25-23, and then Florida dominated set 2 25-16.
But Missouri is outpacing expectations this year, and they did the same in this match. They rebounded to win the 3rd set rather easily, were pummeled by the 4th (with 7 kills, but 11 errors), and then battled past the Gators in the tie-breaker in spite of being out-hit and out-blocked in the frame.
Florida had a monstrous 23.5-block performance, which ties for the 2nd-best team blocking performance in Division I volleyball this season. The 45 block assists is Florida’s school record in the rally-scoring era, as are their 23.5 team blocks. Both broke the records of 40 and 23, respectively, set earlier in the weekend against Ole Miss. Their previous best was just 38 assists against Tennessee, twice, in 2004; they had 21 total blocks in each of those matches. Sunday’s effort also breaks the all-time school record for block assists, which was 40 set against Georgia in 1997.
“I’m very proud of our kids today,” said Missouri head coach Wayne Kreklow. “It was a very tough match and there were many highs and lows that we had to struggle through. I thought we showed a lot of maturity today. We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress and if we continue to work hard and buy into the daily grind then we have potential to be good.”
That snapped a 14-match Florida winning streak, and marked a 6th-straight win for Missouri. It was also the Gators’ first SEC loss of the season, dropping them behind 8-0 Kentucky for 2nd in the SEC (Missouri is now in 3rd place).
The Tigers were out-hit in 2 of the 3 sets they won, and in the sets they lost, they hit an aggregate -.016.
- Missouri has Florida’s number: the Tigers are 5-4 in their last 9 matchups with the Gators.
- Missouri sophomore-transfer Kylie Deberg had a career-high 21 kills, 3 aces, 9 digs, and 4 blocks in the match. That included 5 kills in the 5th set and 0 errors (.500 hitting).
- Florida had an 11-2 run early in the 2nd set to put the Tigers away early. Florida hit .545 in that set and had 6 blocks.
- In the deciding 5th set, Florida out-hit Missouri .318-.269, and out-blocked them 4-1.
- Missouri had all 3 aces in the 5th set, however, including 3 served at Florida’s superstar freshman Thayer Hall. Hall had 6 reception errors in the match (on 7 Missouri aces), so the Tigers identified something that they could take advantage of there.
- Prior to Sunday’s match, Hall hadn’t given up an ace in the Gators’ last 2.
- Taelor Kellum had 13 block assists for Florida, while Holly Carlton chipped in 8 assists and 2 solo blocks, and Rachael Kramer had 9 block assists. The Gators’ blocking numbers are almost disorienting: they had nearly as many block assists + solos (49) as they did kills (55)
- In the winning effort, Missouri had 36 hitting errors and 9 service errors, as compared to just 22 and 6 for Florida.
- With 26 total points, Kylie Deberg had twice as many as her next-closest Tiger teammate (Dariana Hollingsworth, 13, 11 kills, 2 block assists, 1 ace).
- Florida setter Andrew Fuentes matched Deberg with 3 aces, including back-to-back in the 5th set when the Tigers, down 6-2, were in danger of losing contact with Florida.
- Florida led by as many as 5 points in the tie-breaker.