The 11th ranked Florida volleyball team capped off the Gator Invitational with a 3-2 win over Long Beach State in a five-set thriller on Saturday.
Florida Begins Tournament with Back-to-Back Victories
On Friday, the Gators opened up the tournament with a 3-1 win over South Florida. The Gators won the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-20, before dropping the third set 19-25.
In the fourth set, Florida rallied back to against the Bulls, winning 25-13 and taking the match. Florida ended the first day of competition with a 3-0 sweep over James Madison University.
Florida Edges Out Long Beach State
The Gators’ third and final match-up against Long Beach State came down to the wire. The first set was point for point until the very end, with Long Beach State winning 27- 25.
Florida middle blocker Lauren Dooley led the Gators’ offense with five kills in the first set. Dooley ended the night with 14 kills. For Long Beach State, outside hitter Kashauna Williams led the offense, recording a total of 26 kills on the night.
In the second set, Florida rallied back to even the match with a 25-16 victory as middle blocker Darrielle King recorded a career-high 15 kills for Florida.
Florida continued their offensive success in the third set winning, 25-20. With the score at 18-17 in favor of the Gators, Dooley and Holly Carlton combined for a block that gave the Gators a 19-17 lead. Carlton recorded 11 kills, one assist and three digs.
Long Beach State pulled away with a lead in the fourth set that Florida wouldn’t be able to recover from. Long Beach State again evened the match with a fourth set victory, 25-19. Florida fell into a deficit early in the fifth set but climbed from a four point deficit to tie the set at 11-11. A kill from Carlton gave the Gators a slight edge, 12-11, over Long Beach State but it didn’t last long. Long Beach State and Florida went point for point until again tying the set at 17-17 until Florida did enough at the end to win the game and the match.
Dooley earned the Honda of Gainesville Gator Invitational MVP award, finishing the tournament with 16 kills.
Florida coach Mary Wise comments on the performance from Dooley and King.
- Lauren Dooley, Florida
- Thayer Hall, Florida
- Holly Carlton, Florida
- Kashauna Williams, Long Beach State
- Sarah Martin, James Martin
- Lindsey Pliapol, South Florida
Florida returns to the court Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to host No. 25 Florida State. You can listen to live coverage of Tuesday’s rivalry match-up on ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF.