GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The overall No. 2 seeded Gators stuck to their mantra (find a way) once again Friday night in the NCAA Second Round, grinding out a 3-1 victory over an explosive Miami offense that took the second set and held a 16-12 lead in a fourth set that was decided by two points.
The Gators won the first and third sets in convincing fashion, yielding a combined 25 points and logging hitting percentages of .393 and .414, respectively. Florida's dominant defense was on display in the third as well, holding Miami to a -.028 clip. A 5-0 run in the fourth, fueled by a pair of kills from 2017 SEC Player of the Year Rhamat Alhassan and capped by a timely setter dump from sophomore Cheyenne Huskey, gave the Gators enough momentum to erase a 16-12 deficit and eventually grab a 22-14 lead. All-SEC right side Shainah Joseph scored the Gators' last two points, clinching a 25-23 win.
Joseph was once again the hot hand for Florida, as she logged 19 kills and just two errors on 33 swings, registering a .515 clip. It is the third time in the Gators' last six matches Joseph finished with 19-plus kills. The Ottawa, Ont., native added five block assists to match her career high of 21.5 points.
Two-time All-SEC outside hitter Carli Snyder, one of three Florida attackers to finish without a single hitting error, tallied 13 kills, nine digs and hit .361. Alhassan and All-SEC middle blocker Rachael Kramer, the other two errorless Gators, had nine kills apiece and combined for eight blocks.
All in all: Alhassan, Joseph, Kramer and Snyder combined for 50 kills, two errors and a .495 hitting percentage.
Freshman outside hitter Paige Hammons led Florida's back row with a career-high 18 digs.
The Gators will play in an NCAA Regional Semifinal for the 24th time in program history
Florida finished with a .366 hitting percentage, its third-highest clip of the season
The Gators have recorded their highest and third-highest hitting percentages of the season in their last two matches, and have hit above .355 in three of their last four outings
Florida's 10 hitting errors tied its lowest total in a four-set match this year, with the previous low coming in a 3-1 win over Auburn on Nov. 22
After doing so in the third set Friday, Florida has held its opponents under a .100 hitting percentage in 38 of 98 sets this season (38.7 percent)
Shainah Joseph recorded 15-plus points for the fourth time this season and fifth time in her career
Joseph also posted four-plus blocks for the eighth time this year and 13th time in her career
Joseph is hitting .431 with 143 kills in Florida's last 12 matches (42 sets)
Rachael Kramer had at least 15 attempts and hit above .500 (she hit .600 on the match) for the seventh time this season and ninth time in her career
Carli Snyder had 10-plus kills for the 22nd time this season
Paige Hammons' previous career high for digs was 14, which she set against Arkansas (Nov. 10) and Lipscomb (Sept. 16)
Florida improved its all-time record against Miami to 2-0, with all both wins coming in NCAA Second Round play
The Gators will welcome the winners of seventh-seeded Minnesota's, 10th-seeded Southern California's, and 15th-seeded UCLA's sub-regionals to Gainesville. The four teams will play NCAA Regional Semifinal matches next Friday, followed by the NCAA Regional Championship match Saturday. Times and television network information have yet to be announced.