ORLANDO, Fla. - The 13th-ranked Florida Gators defeated the Florida State Seminoles in straight-sets during the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
Florida moves to 22-0 in the first round of the tournament and improves to 13-14 in neutral site matches.
UF took the first set, 25-21, then followed with a 25-20 win in the second frame. Florida clinched the match with a convincing 25-13 win in the final set to keep the season alive.
The Gators were led offensively by Paige Hammons, who posted 16 kills during the match, tying her career-best. Rachael Kramer and Thayer Hall followed with nine kills apiece, while Taelor Kellum posted seven.
Allie Monserez dished out a team-leading 20 assists - her 29th time leading the team in assists this season. Marlie Monserez added 16 assists of her own during the match.
Allie Gregory led the backcourt defense for Florida, tying her career-best 22 kills. Paula Cerame also posted eight digs on the evening - tying her career-best
As a squad, the Gators notched 11.0 blocks, led by nine from Rachael Kramer. The junior also had nine blocks the last time these two teams met in Sept.
With the win, Florida has now won at least 25 matches in each of the 28 season under Mary Wise.
How It Happened
- Florida held an 11-5 advantage early in the first set, forcing Florida State to use a timeout. The Gators continued to hold onto their lead, going up 19-14. FSU followed with a 4-1 run, getting to within two, but the Gators were able to close out the set on a service ace by Rachael Kramer.
- Florida hit .214 in the first set, recording 14 kills along the way. Paige Hammons registered five kills in the frame - hitting .500 - and Taelor Kellum and Thayer Hall both pitched in three of their own.
- UF found itself down 6-2 early, but the squad fought back to even it up at 7-7. From that point on, the Gators went on a 14-5 run, taking a 21-12 lead in the process. FSU battled to within four points at 23-19, but Florida secured the frame with two kills from Rachael Kramer.
- The Gators hit .286 in the second frame, collecting 16 kills along the way. Once again, Paige Hammons registered five kills, followed by four from both Rachael Kramer and Thayer Hall.
- With the third set tied 10-10, the Gators went on an 8-0 run behind the serves of Allie Gregory. FSU got within eight points at 20-12, but it was Gators the rest of the way as they closed out the set on a kill by Paige Hammons.
- UF hit .333 in the third and held the Seminoles to a .107 hit clip. Paige Hammons posted six kills in the frame, while Rachael Kramer and Taelor Kellum each added three.
- Allie Gregory tied her career-high with 22 digs - she has now led the Gators in digs in 28 matches
- Paige Hammons posted 16 kills during the match, tying her career-high
- Allie Monserez recorded 20 assists to lead Florida for the 29th match
- Four Gators hit over .300 in the match - Paige Hammons (.455), Taelor Kellum (.385), Rachel Kramer (.333), Thayer Hall (.304)
- The Gators move to 42-20 against the Seminoles in the all-time series
- Florida improves to 23-7 against FSU in three-set matches
- Florida moves to 22-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament
- The Gators have now won at least 25 matches in all 28 seasons under Mary Wise
- Florida improves to 4-2 against FSU in the NCAA Tournament
- UF improves to 12-2 in three-set matches this season
Thoughts from Coach Wise
- "This was one of our most complete performances all season. One of our goals has always been to be playing the best volleyball at the end. Tonight was the perfect indication of how this team has grown and evolved. They have fought through adversity and have taken on challenges."
- "The growth that this team has done, both individually and collectively, is far more important than the number."
- The Gators advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, playing FGCU on Friday at 7 p.m.
- The match will be held in The Venue and will be streamed on Knights.TV