The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

No. 2 Florida edged in five-set affair at No. 16 Hawaii

2632 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: Brendan Maloney

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- In a battle of two top-20 volleyball teams Friday evening in Honolulu, the No. 2 Gators fell short to No. 16 Hawaii, 3-2, in front of a rowdy crowd of 7,419 at the Stan Sheriff Center. Florida moved to 5-1 following its first five-setter of the season (25-18, 22-25, 25-22, 17-25, 9-15).

While the chips didn't fall the Gators' way in Friday's epic battle, a number of performances stood out for the Orange and Blue, notably a career-high 25 digs for senior libero Nikki O'Rourke who led a defensive front that had four players in double-digit digs.

Three Gators posted double-doubles, including senior setter Mackenzie Dagostino (47A, 14D), junior right side Alex Holston (19K, 10D) and senior outside hitter Živa Recek (15K, 13D), as Florida both out-hit (.306 to .263) and out-dug (71-66) the Rainbow Wahine. Sophomore middle Rhamat Alhassan hit a team-best .476 with 10 kills on 21 errorless swings and also paced the Gators with six blocks, but Hawaii's play down the stretch in sets four and five -- and the ability to side out at 72 and 80 percent compared to the Gators' 50 percent in both sets -- helped carry Hawaii.

After the Gators convincingly took set one 25-18 it was wire-to-wire in the second, with 20 ties and 11 lead changes until Hawaii broke a 22-all tie with two kills and a block for the 25-22 second-frame win. O'Rourke scooped up 10 of her 25 digs in the second alone to lead UF's defensive efforts.

Florida controlled the third with a .419 hitting efficiency and, despite two ties, led the duration of the set to take a 2-1 advantage in the match. The fourth belonged to the Rainbow Wahine, who used a 9-2 run at the end of the set to pull away from the Gators towards the eventual 25-17 differential. A large and loud home crowd gave Hawaii the momentum in the fifth, as the Bows rode the arm of Nikki Taylor (31.5 points) to a 15-9 win.

The Gators wrap up play in Honolulu with an 8:30 p.m. (ET) match-up against the San Diego State Aztecs.