Florida Volleyball advance to NCAA third round, Wise wins 1001st game – ESPN 98.1 FM


The 16-seeded Florida volleyball team (22-8) advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night, beating a much-vaunted No.24 Miami team. Head Wise said it took one of the Gators’ best games of the year to beat the Hurricanes (25-5) in straight sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-16).

Outside hitters Thayer Hall and Sofia Victoria led the field with 13 kills each. The latter was playing her second game of her established entry after away striker T’ara Ceasar left the team citing her mental and physical health.

Mary Wise, in her 31st year as UF head coach (and head coach for 35 years in total), scored her 1,001st victory on Friday. While she didn’t want to spend too much time talking about her feat on Thursday, she spent some time thinking as the Gators secured their ticket to the first and second rounds of Gainesville.

Florida will return to the field on Thursday.

Set 1

Florida got off to a quick 5-2 start and widened it to a 14-7 lead. The Gators took their biggest lead at 21-12.

Thayer Hall led the Gators in kills with seven, reaching 0.500. Victoria hit an incredible .625 en route for six kills.

The Hurricanes were able to put an end to Merrit Beason in the first, however, who had no kills in six swings, while the Florida midfielders only had one kill each. Victoria missed two serves. None of those mistakes deterred a 25-15 shot by Florida.

Set 2

Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” erupted in the Exactech Arena as Florida took a 6-2 lead.

The Hurricanes fought back, however, taking the next six points. They won what was perhaps the longest rally of the game via a kill by average Leah Janice, and benefited from two typing errors from Victoria.

Head coach Mary Wise took an 8-6 timeout. Victoria sidelined the Gators with a kill, and soon midfielder Lauren Forte and Beason contributed to the kills.

Forte became more involved in the second set, including a solo block.

Victoria looked out of step with a slow start to the set as she hit three straight kills. She was even killed in the last row. Monserez spoke about Victoria’s style of play and the kind words she said about the team during the game.

The serve line remained a problem for Victoria as she missed her fourth serve of the game, reducing Gator’s lead to 19-18. She remained on the service line the rest of the game.

Hall knocked out Florida and Libero Elli McKissock led the Gators on a four-point serve to hit set. Miami lost a set point, but Beason responded with a kill on the next point. Gators win, 25-20.

Set 3

There was minimal disappointment for the Gators to start a set that could take them forward to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Monserez had a setter dump. Miami even dropped a ball on serve.

Led 7-1, the Hurricanes took a time out. Hall returned to the field and immediately beat them twice.

Hall also caught up with Victoria for most kills on the pitch. After the game, Hall spoke about how her team supported her as she battled injury this season, which she frankly considers part of her UF history at this point.

Leao and Angela Grieve remained the main targets for Miami passer Savannah Vach, finishing with 10 and 8 kills. No one else on the team had more than three.

Florida worked to a 22-12 lead. Miami has made its final efforts, with Grieve pointing the ground in a fiery celebration after a murder.

Soon, however, in fashion, the duo declared that they considered appropriate for their likely final match at the Exactech Arena, Monserez put Hall in for a kill. The Gators won 25-16.

Wise later said she feels a great vibe from her team, something she attributed to her seniors who are striving to keep their season going with expert focus.

And after

Assuming No.1 Louisville wins their first and second round games, the Gators will move to take on the Cardinals. Regardless of the opponent, Florida returns to play on Thursday.


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