Seniors Taylor Brauneis and Chloe Mann celebrated their last regular season home game with a 3-0 sweep against LSU
“Taylor B. with the set and Chloe Mann with the kill! It is all over here in Gainesville! Gators win!”
No matter how deep your stat books may go, you won’t find an exact count of how many times that quote was said over the past two years, but here’s a guess, a lot.
The No. 7 ranked Florida Gator volleyball sent its seniors Taylor Brauneis and Chloe Mann out in style in their last regular season home game as the Gators swept the LSU Tigers 25-16, 25-19, 25-20. This win brings the Gators to 26-3 on the season with one game left to play in the SEC regular season.
For Taylor Brauneis, in her two years as a Gator, she recorded over 4,000 assists and went into Senior Night with a 52-8 record. In 2012, she was first team All-SEC as well as an All-American honorable mention. Brauneis ended Friday’s match with a game-high 39 assists and six digs. When asked how she prepared for her extra spotlight tonight, she said in the end it, was just about going out and having fun.
“I got my emotion side out first,” Brauneis said. “When it came game time I just stayed focused, focused on the team and had fun.”
And it’s not often the City of Gainesville gets to see a star perform her whole career right in front of their eyes, but that’s what makes Chloe Mann’s journey such a treasure to the community of Gainesville. In her fifth year as a UF student and fourth year as a Gator player, Mann will leave as the all-time NCAA leader in career hitting percentage at .471. She has over 100 wins and two SEC championships, and ended last year All-SEC, SEC Player of the Year and first team All-American.
Mann started her volleyball career at Eastside High School in Gainesville; playing for the Florida Gators has been quite the hometown journey. Mann — like Brauneis — was there to enjoy the moment, more than prepare herself to miss it.
“To be honest I think it was really fun,” Mann said. “I’m not thinking of Senior Night as the end, I know hopefully we’ll still have the first and second round here in Gainesville. Tonight was just a fun night where we could celebrate us, celebrate the fans and celebrate everyone who’s been a part of our success at Florida.”
In the Gators final regular season game, the team will travel to Kentucky to take on the 21-6 Wildcats. In a rare look forward, Florida head coach Mary Wise said this match is all about putting her team in the best position to earn a top seed in the NCAA tournament.
“The challenge is going on the road and playing Kentucky in the last regular season game, Wise said. “It’s the last opportunity to put ourselves in every possible advantage to be a top 16 seed, and that’s what you want in women’s volleyball.”
For tonight, before the lights dimmed for the final time, all that filled the senior’s minds was the next play, the next hit and the next goal. On the match winning point it was Taylor B. to Chloe Mann to end the night in Gainesville and once again hear the broadcaster say “Gators win” as they had so many times before.
For audio on the quotes above, click here: