Bayamon, P.R. - Florida defeated its third ranked opponent in four matches this season, sweeping No. 16 North Carolina Sunday (Sep. 3) to close the SEC-ACC Challenge in Puerto Rico.
The No. 3 Gators are the only team in the nation with three wins over top-20 opponents this season. Only one team in the nation amassed three wins over top-20 opponents the first two weeks of last season: Stanford, which won the NCAA title.
Florida's defense led the way again, holding the Tar Heels to a .109 hitting percentage, the lowest by a Gators' opponent this year. UF also matched its season high with 11.5 blocks.
Though the offense ground to a mere .270 clip, sophomore Rachael Kramer and fifth-year senior Shainah Joseph were quite efficient. Kramer totaled 10 kills and two errors on 14 attacks to hit .571, while Joseph tallied eight kills and one error on 13 attacks for a .538 clip.
Defensively, three-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan led the way with a season-high nine blocks. Sophomore setter Cheyenne Huskey amassed a career-high six blocks.
The first set saw Florida rattle off an 8-1 run with multiple blocks from Alhassan and Huskey, breaking a 12-12 tie. UF finished the opening set with seven blocks. Set two saw another tie around the midway point (14-14), and the Gators broke it open with a 7-0 run. They scored 11 of the final 14 points in the set.
Florida trailed 19-17 in the third set, but a lengthy service run from Allie Monserez followed by kills from Joseph and Kramer put the match away.
(COACH) WISE'S WORDS
"A great learning opportunity. The good news: I think we'll have the players' attention in practice next week. We'll have some growing pains. There are some advantages with the two-setter offense, but it's a little harder to get in the flow, and I didn't think either setter was particularly sharp tonight. For them to learn how to go back-to-back nights-we didn't do it that much (last week) against Nebraska-every time out it's a new learning opportunity. Thought the passing of Paige Hammons was huge there.
"Twenty-eight swings by (our) middles in three sets is pretty good. That's not too bad. And we passed well enough. We didn't have one player with a ton of swings. We just forced a few to Carli (Snyder). I like starting Carli with her serve, but we've got to find how to get her on track offensively. As the match went on, CK served better. We need her to be able to run points for us.
"North Carolina was error-free, and so you've got to create points. We did it with the blocking and with the defense." -Mary Wise on tonight's match
- Florida has logged at least 11 blocks in three of their four matches this season
- The Gators have held all four of their opponents under a .175 hitting percentage this season
- Paige Hammons amassed a career-high 13 digs, topping her previous high of 11-which came in UF's five-set win over No. 5 Nebraska last Saturday
- Cheyenne Huskey's previous career high for blocks was five against No. 1 Texas last Friday Carli Snyder has led the Gators in kills three of their four matches this season, including tonight against North Carolina (11 kills)
- Florida improves its all-time record against North Carolina to 12-1 and to 7-0 under Mary Wise
Florida returns to Gainesville, where it will host the Active Ankle Challenge Friday (Sep. 8) and Saturday (Sep. 9). The Gators face North Carolina-Greensboro and American to open the tournament, and close the weekend against No. 23 Michigan State.