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Gator Volleyball will Play for the National Championship

The No. 2 seed Gator volleyball team defeated the No. 3 seed and seven-time national champion Stanford Cardinal in 5 sets Thursday night to advance to the National Championship game. The Gators will play the No. 5 Nebraska Cornhuskers Saturday for the right to hoist the trophy.

How They Did It

Florida won the opening two sets 25-22 and 25-21 over the Cardinal and it looked as if the Gators were going to roll to a quick win. Stanford though responded to grab the third set, 25-18, and then took the fourth set, 25-18. In the fifth and decisive set, four-time All-American Rhamat Alhassan took over early. Alhassan was responsible for four of Florida’s first nine points in the fifth set. She helped Florida take an 11-6 lead in the final set, and Rachel Kramer, who had five blocks, recorded the final kill.

Alhassan led the Gators with a team-high 17 kills and four blocks, registering a .517 clip. Carli Snyder was her usual all-around self, stuffing the stat sheet with 16 kills, nine digs, three service aces, two assists and two blocks. Shainah Joseph added 11 kills, while Rachael Kramer had a team-high five blocks.

A Rematch for a Title

The Gators (30-1 ) will matchup against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (31-4) for the title. The two teams met early in the season in Gainesville where the Gators captured a 3-2 win as a part of the VERT Challenge. In that game, Snyder notched a career-high 27 digs. After that win, the Gators have now defeated Nebraska for the third time in 11 matches, and for the third time in nine matches under Mary Wise.

This will be the second time in program history Florida volleyball will play for the NCAA Championship. The Gators also played in the NCAA Championship match in 2003, falling in four sets to Southern California.

First serve between Florida and fifth-seeded Nebraska is 9 p.m. ESPN2 will provide television coverage. Tom Collett and Josh Crow will have the radio call for ESPN Gainesville 98.1 FM / 850 AM WRUF.

Notables

  • The Gators’ all-time NCAA Tournament record rises to 71-27 (.724) and to 24-6 overall as an overall top-four seed
  • Mary Wise, already the only Division I head coach in history to lead a team to the NCAA Championship, will coach in her second national title match
  • Wise improves to 70-26 (.729) in NCAA Tournament matches
  • Florida has its first 30-win season since 2006 when it went 30-3 and was eliminated in the NCAA Regional Semifinals
  • Wise’s 70 all-time NCAA Tournament victories remain the seventh-most in Division I history
  • Florida’s 71 all-time NCAA Tournament wins remain the eighth-most in Division I history
  • The Gators’ all-time record against Stanford improves to 5-6, and it is their first win against the Cardinal in an NCAA Tournament match
  • Rhamat Alhassan now has 189 total blocks this season, which is tied for the second-highest total in program history

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