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Florida/FSU Rivalry Intensifies With Volleyball Rankings

The 11th ranked Florida volleyball team heads to Tallahassee tomorrow to face rival and 12th ranked Florida State.  The Gators are coming off their 14th straight win after beating Texas A&M on Sunday and are 17-2 overall.  FSU sits 18-2 and is currently on a 12 match winning streak.  The Noles have not lost a match at Tully Gym since November 26, 2010, carrying a school record 20 match win streak at home.  This will be the third consecutive year both teams play each other as nationally ranked opponents, and Gator head coach Mary Wise says this match is an opportunity for a challenge and a way to prepare for the NCAA tournament.

The Gators swept conference play over the weekend, starting with a 3-0 victory over Alabama in Tuscaloosa before winning their 3-2 match at Texas A&M.  Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann, the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, led the way for Florida in both matches, registering a .750 hitting percentage with 13 kills on 16 swings against Alabama on Friday night.  Senior middle blocker Betsy Smith set a new career high with 15 kills against A&M and stuffed seven blocks on the weekend. Coach Wise refers to these two as the team’s “X Factors.”

Junior Ashley Neff and senior Sareea Freeman lead the Seminoles on an impressive national level.  Neff is fifth in the nation in blocks per set (1.66) and third in the nation in hitting percentage (.448)and she’s the only player in the nation to be on both Top Ten lists. Freeman ranks second in the country with a .450 hitting percentage and is one of six Seminoles to be named ACC Player of the Week more than once in her career.

Wednesday’s matchup can be heard live on ESPN Radio 850/900 with coverage starting at 5:50 pm.

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