GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 15th-ranked Florida volleyball team clinched its 24th SEC Championship on Saturday afternoon with a defeat of the Texas A&M Aggies (25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-13).
With the victory, the Gators became SEC Co-Champions with the Kentucky Wildcats. The 24th SEC Championship is the third-most by any sport (men and women) in the league since volleyball's inception into the SEC in 1979.
The Florida senior class that was honored prior to the match has now won a conference championship three of the four years in their tenure.
Since 1984 - the inception of volleyball at Florida - the Gators have the second-most SEC Championships at the school, behind just women's tennis.
The Gators were led on the offense front by Thayer Hall, who posted 16 kills in the match. Rachael Kramer added 13, while Lauren Dooley pitched in 10 kills of her own.
Marlie Monserez dished out 40 assists in the match.
As a squad, Florida notched 10.0 blocks, led by a team-high five from Dooley. Holly Carlton registered four blocks, while Kramer added three in the match.
The backcourt defense was paced by Allie Gregory, who posted a career-high 25 digs on her Senior Night. She is now seventh in program history in digs with 1,341, surpassing Aury Cruz 1,320. Monserez and Carlton each pitched in 10 digs apiece, while Hammons and Riley Fischer each added eight in the win.
The Gators wrapped up their regular season, but now await seeding in the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
How it Happened
- The Gators fell down 3-0 early in the first frame, but stormed back on a 6-0 run behind the serves of Thayer Hall to take the 9-3 lead. Florida continued to build its lead, taking the nine-point advantage at 18-9. The Aggies went on a 5-0 burst of their own to pull to within four at 18-14. From that point on, the Gators went on a 7-3 run to secure the frame.
- Florida hit .333 in the first set, holding the Aggies to a .059 clip. Kramer, Hammons and Hall all recorded three kills in the frame.
- The two squads traded points for the first portion of the second set, but TAMU grabbed a two-point lead at the 11-9 mark, forcing the Gators to use their first timeout. Florida came out of the break and tied the set at 11-11, but Texas A&M utilized a 4-0 run to take the 15-11 run. The Gators pulled back to within two at 15-13, but Texas A&M went on a 5-0 run to go up 20-13. Florida fought back to within two at 22-17, but TAMU closed out the set to even the match at 1-1.
- The Gators registered just a .147 clip in the second set, with Kramer recording a team-best five kills. Hall added three, while Lauren Dooley pitched in two in the frame.
- Florida hopped out to the 6-0 lead in the third set, thanks in part to the serving of Hall. Texas A&M pulled to within three at 8-5, but the Gators went on a 10-5 run to go ahead 18-10 late in the set. The Aggies once again closed the gap to four at 22-18, but Florida closed out the frame on a 3-0 to go up 2-1 in the match.
- The Gators hit .262 in the frame, while holding TAMU to a .070 clip. Hall and Hammons both recorded four kills in the set, followed by three from Carlton.
- The fourth set was a battle from the start, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead. The Gators took the 15-13 lead into the media timeout, but the Aggies answered out of the break, taking the 21-18 lead late. Florida pulled back to within one at 23-22, but the Aggies closed it out on a 2-0 run to force a deciding fifth set.
- Neither squad hit over .200 in the fourth frame. Four Gators registered two kills in the set: Kramer, Hammons, Hall and Dooley.
- Florida found itself down 4-1 early in the set, but continued to battle. Three clutch serves by Chanelle Hargreaves gave Florida the lead at the 9-7 mark. UF took as large as a four-point lead at the 14-10 mark, but the Aggies staved off three match points to pull within one at 14-13. The Gators pulled out the final point on a kill from Hall, earning their 24th SEC Championship.
- UF was led by four kills from Hall in the final set, while Dooley and Kramer each pitched in two apiece.
- This win earns the Gators their 24th SEC Championship
- That mark is the third-best total in the entire conference among all sports since volleyball's inception into the SEC in 1979
- All 24 SEC titles have come under Mary Wise, meaning she has won at least a share of a conference title in 24 of her 29 seasons at Florida
- The 24 titles are the second-best mark at Florida since 1984, with only women's tennis having more titles in that time frame (26)
- This is the 245th SEC title for the Gators athletics program - the league high
- The Florida Gators have now won at least one fall sport team title in 25 of the last 29 seasons
- The senior class has now won three SEC Championships during their careers and tallied 108 victories
- This is the 29th consecutive season that the Gators have won at least 25 matches - all coming with Mary Wise at the helm
- Allie Gregory now holds sole possession of seventh place in program history in digs with 1,341 surpassing Aury Cruz (1,320)
- Gregory's 25 digs were a career-best mark for the senior on Senior Day
- Riley Fischer tied her career-high in digs with eight
- Marlie Monserez recorded her 10th double-double of the season, recording 40 assists and 10 digs
- The Gators improve to 17-1 against Texas A&M in the all-time series
- Florida is now 5-1 against the Aggies in five-set matches
- The Gators remain undefeated at home against Texas A&M (9-0)
- UF improves to 6-2 in five-set matches this season
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"We shared this victory with the fans that were here. The ones that on a Thanksgiving weekend, chose to be with us. They were fantastic in helping us to this win here tonight."
The Gators await seeding in the NCAA Tournament with the Selection Show on Sunday The show is slated to air at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU