Gator coach Mary Wise made it clear on Friday night that despite the team’s strong performance in their first two games, there would be no slacking off against the Oklahoma Sooners.
“The challenge tomorrow [Saturday] will be against the very big, physical Oklahoma team,” Wise said. “They play in a big conference; they’re used to big crowds, big venues and they’re very well coached. And they will be quite a different team. They’re a terrific serving team and a great blocking team, and they can score a lot of points with both of those skills.”
There was no shortage of that Saturday afternoon as the 10th ranked Gators (3-0) were pushed to five sets by the Sooners (2-1).
While the Gators were ultimately victorious (22-25, 28-26, 25-12, 22-25, 15-8), the team would sputter out of the gate, nearly falling to a 2-0 deficit. Able to right the ship after the second set, the Gators outplayed the Sooners in the third set, before falling again in the fourth set.
The Gators were led by the performance of sophomore Alex Holston, who had 19 kills while posting a .436 attack clip; her day included five kills in the second set, six kills in the fourth set, and four in the final set. Along with Holston freshman Carli Snyder was impressive for the Gators, posting 11 kills and three solo blocks. Junior Mackenzie Dagostino provided 51 assists for the Gators, 16 of them coming in the second set.
Wise talked about the performance of Holston, who bounced back from rough performances in the team’s first two games.
“Well, we knew we were going to have to ride her arm, and it didn’t matter what her numbers were last night. In basketball, you’re going to have an off-shooting night, you just have to come back and keep shooting. And Alex has developed that shooter’s mentality. I don’t think anyone in the arena doubted that the ball was coming to her, and she still delivered.”
Wise says that the team must respond quickly, as there is not much of a turnaround before the team travels to Tallahassee to take on 13th ranked Florida State.
That match is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. You can catch that game on ESPN 850 WRUF.
To hear coach Wise’s comments, as well as some players, click below: