GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The No. 12 Florida volleyball team swept the UCF Knights (25-21, 25-18, 25-17) during the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night.
With the win, the Gators now continue on to the program's 26th Regional Semifinal in 30 NCAA appearances. If all holds with the highest seed in Florida's quadrant of the bracket, UF will head to Austin, Texas to compete in the Texas Regional.
Florida improves to 26-4 in the second round of the Tournament and move to 57-7 at home.
The Gators were led by Paige Hammons on the offensive front - she recorded 16 kills on 35 swings for a .314 clip. Rachael Kramer followed with 15 kills on 21 swings with just one error for a .667 hitting percentage.
Holly Carlton posted eight kills with a .533 clip, while Mia Sokolowski added six kills of her own on the night.
Marlie Monserez dished out 39 assists on the night, leading the team to a .381 clip.
Florida's defense was tremendous in the victory, holding the Knights to a .145 hitting percentage. Lauren Dooley and Kramer led the blocking effort at the net with three blocks apiece.
Allie Gregory posted 17 digs in the three-set win, moving her into fourth place all-time in program history. Hammons added a double-double with 10 digs, while Riley Fischer pitched in a career-high 10 digs on the evening.
Florida posted six service aces on the night, led by three from Gregory and two from Carlton.
The Gators continue their season in the Regional Semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Once the rest of the first and second round matches are completed on Saturday - it will be decided where Florida will travel.
How it Happened
- Florida jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind the service run of Allie Gregory, but UCF clawed its way back to tie the frame at 6-6. From that point on, the two teams traded points with UCF taking the 15-14 lead into the media timeout. The Gators tied it back up at 16 apiece, but UCF went on a 3-1 spurt to force Florida to use a timeout at the 20-17 mark. UF answered in a big way out of the break, going on a 5-1 run to take the 22-21 lead - forcing a UCF timeout. The Gators closed out the set on a 3-0 run to go up 1-0 in the match.
- UF hit .379 in the first frame, while holding the Knights to a .179 clip. Holly Carlton, Paige Hammons and Rachael Kramer each pitched in four kills in the set.
- The second set was tied early at the 4-4 mark, but the Gators swung the momentum in their favor, taking the 12-7 lead. UCF pulled to within three at 14-11, but Florida continued to push, taking the 22-16 lead to force a timeout by the Knights. The Gators held strong, winning the frame 25-18 to go up 2-0 in the match.
- Florida hit .464 in the set, all while holding UCF to a .132 clip. Hammons registered five kills, while Kramer and Sokolowski pitched in four and three, respectively.
- The serves of Allie Gregory put Florida ahead 6-0 early in the third set and the Gators continued to hold an impressive lead, going up by seven at the 15-8 mark. UCF pulled back to within five at the 17-12 mark, but the Gators went on a 4-1 tear to take 21-13 lead. Florida secured its ticket to the Regional Semifinal with a push at the end of the set to win the match.
- UF hit .326 in the final set, with both Kramer and Hammons recording seven kills in the frame.
- Paige Hammons notched her sixth double-double of the year, finishing with 16 kills and 10 digs
- Riley Fischer recorded a career-high 10 digs in the match
- Allie Gregory now holds sole possession of fourth place in program history with 1,375 digs, surpassing both Marcie Hampton (1,372) and Rachel Engel (1,359)
- The Gators improve to 75-29 in the NCAA Tournament, including a 74-28 record under Mary Wise
- As a No. 10 seed or higher, the Gators have now made the Regional Semifinal 14 out of 15 times
- Florida moves to 20-0 in the all-time series against UCF
- The Gators improve to 14-0 in three-set matches against the Knights
- Florida is now 3-0 against UCF in the NCAA Tournament
- UF moves to 18-2 in three-set matches this season
- Mary Wise is now the 11th most winning coach in NCAA history with 957 wins, surpassing Mick Haley (956)
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"Folks that weren't here and see that the score was 3-0 will not understand just how difficult a win that was and what a challenge that was for our team. I have the utmost respect for UCF - the way they dig balls and McKenna [Melville] is such a unique talent. We were able to keep her well below her average and I think our size was a factor in that. The key to the match was the play of our veterans, especially [Allie Gregory] who moved into fourth all-time in digs. She had a career-high to help us win a share of an SEC title and she moves into fourth place all-time in a match that puts us into the round of 16. I cannot say enough about both our players that were playing more minutes than they normally play in stepping up to that challenge, but they couldn't do it without the play of the veterans."
The Gators now await for the remainder of the first and second round matches to complete to see where they will travel for the Regional Semifinal.