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PHOTO CREDIT: Matt Gardener

Gators Sweep Tide, 4-0 in SEC

The Florida Gators have yet to drop a set in conference play.

No. 11 Florida swept the Alabama Crimson Tide, 3-0, in Foster Auditorium in a Sunday afternoon road match.

That victory keeps the Gators undefeated in the all-time series against the Tide. Besides that, they also push their current win streak to nine games and finish the road trip 2-0.

“I don’t think this team understands how hard this travel schedule has been this far,” Associate Head Coach Dave Boos said in a post-match interview. “We’re growing every time we play and this was a fantastic match for us to grow from.”

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Defensive Struggle Throughout

“If you like defense, this was the match for you,” Boos said.

In the first two sets of the match, Florida hit no better than .225 as a team while holding the Tide to a clip under .100 over that same period. Alabama’s Cidavia Hall came in as one of the SEC’s leaders in hitting percentage. They forced a -.250 percentage from her, .071 from kill leader Ginger Perinar and .133 from Haley McSparin.

Boos on struggles from the pins:

Florida’s pin hitters combined to hit for .070 for the entire match. Paige Hammons fared the best at .200 with Mia Sowkolowski finishing the worst with a  -.143 clip.

“Any time we went to a pin, it was tough,” Boos said. “They (Alabama) really dig a ton of balls. Their block makes you uncomfortable. And we couldn’t find ways.”

He said it is a match the team has to learn from because those struggles cannot always end up happening. He gave credit to Alabama’s defense for making every pin hitter struggle.

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The Gators recorded 10 services aces. Boos said the team’s ability to serve allowed them to utilize their block and were able to get the ball back on free balls instead of defending attacks.

He said the Gators have talked about them embracing becoming an elite serving team.

It was a six-point service run by Allie Monserez that helped the Gators take the first set. They out-blocked the Tide 11-4 and out-served them 10-2.

Spark from the Middle

Upperclassmen middle blockers Rachael Kramer and Taelor Kellum picked up the slack offensively for the Gators.

Kellum finished with a career-high 12 kills while Kramer finished second with 10. They combined to hit at a .465 clip. Kramer did not commit a single hitting error while Kellum had the only two between them.

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Boos said Alabama’s defense opened up a lot of opportunities for the duo to produce.

“We were getting great passes to our setters and our setters were giving us good sets, so Rachael and I were able to step up,” Kellum said. “I was just out there having fun and doing what I need to do.”

The twosome was credited for a combined 10 blocks. Boos said going to the block is something Florida should be able to do when the offense struggles.

What Lies Ahead

Florida will be back in the O’Connell Center for matches against Texas A&M and Georgia.

Boos on matches to come:

The Gators will face the Aggies on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia on Sunday at 1 p.m. Florida did not a drop a single set all last year in three total matches against both squads.

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