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Florida Volleyball Racks Up 18th Straight Victory

By on November 24th, 2014

Five players scored double-digit points for Florida Sunday in its second-to-last regular-season match as the sixth ranked Gators topped Arkansas 3-1 to rack up the program’s 18th consecutive victory.

Junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette notched a season high 13 kills to pace the Orange and Blue (23-3, 17-0 SEC), and four other Gators had eight kills or more in Florida’s balanced effort.

Freshman Carli Snyder registered 11 slams, her best output in SEC play, while sophomore Alex Holston (9), freshman Rhamat Alhassan (8) and junior Simone Antwi (8) followed in suit. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino also put down a season-tying five kills to aid UF’s efforts.

After a battle in the first set in favor of Arkansas (14-15, 8-8 SEC), 27-25, the SEC champion Gators evened things up with a 25-12 push in the second to head to the locker room tied at the break.

Florida used 25-20 and 25-19 performances in the third and fourth to close out the Sunday afternoon affair.

UF posted double-digit blocks for the third straight match with 11 Sunday to Arkansas’ eight, and the Orange and Blue out-hit the Razorbacks .300 to .083, the third-lowest for a SEC opponent this season and the 19th match on the campaign that Florida has held its opposition to a .197 efficiency or lower.

The Gators also served up seven aces to the Razorbacks’ one.

Florida’s senior class accounted for 27 digs Sunday, led by Maddy Monserez’s 10, while Holly Pole and Taylor Unroe had nine and eight digs, respectively. Holston additionally had eight digs, her second-most in SEC play.

Up next, Florida will honor its three seniors, Maddy Monserez, Holly Pole and Taylor Unroe Wednesday evening, November 26th, prior to the Gators’ regular-season finale against South Carolina (17-12, 7-9 SEC) on Thanksgiving Eve. First serve is slated for 7 p.m.

You can catch the call on ESPN 850 WRUF.

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VIDEO RECAP: Gators Defeat EKU in Will Muschamp and Seniors Last Home Game

By on November 23rd, 2014

The Florida Gator football team cliched bowl eligibility with a 52-3 victory over Eastern Kentucky Saturday afternoon in the Swamp. Up next, the Gators are set to face in-state rival Florida State in Tallahassee in Muschamp’s last game as the head coach of the Florida Gators.

 

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One Heart. One Dream. One Team. One Goal.

By on November 23rd, 2014

The Florida Gators accomplished their goal of having their 23 seniors and coach Will Muschamp leave The Swamp victorious in their final home game of the year as Florida beat Eastern Kentucky 52-3 Saturday.

Red shirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who went 9 for 11 and threw for 164 yards, said it was rewarding to send Muschamp out with a win on what he knew was going to be an emotional game.

“As players we really appreciate what coach has done for us and we love playing for him and love him as a person. It’s tough, but at the end of the day we are happy that he came out of the Swamp with us.”

The offense struggled in the beginning of the game with starting quarterback Treon Harris only completely one of four passes in the first quarter; the first points on the board were from a 48 yard field goal from Austin Hardin. Soon after Kelvin Taylor ran for 13 yards to put six more on the board and the extra point being good, the Gators had scored 10 points with just 18 yards of total offense.  The Colonels answered back with a career high field goal of 51 yards from Andrew Lloyd.

Eastern Kentucky tried to complicate things, employing all types of fake punts and kicks but it seemed like Florida was well prepared, and Muschamp said he thought that the team had responded well to all situations.

“We told our guys to be ready for whatever comes up, there’s going to be some things we aren’t prepared for, but you’re going to have to adjust on the fly and understand that.”

After a tight opening few minutes, it was all Florida as the Gators scored 42 unanswered points incorporating a total of four quarterbacks and stand out performances from receivers Demarcus Robinson and Quinton Dunbar, who both finished with over 100 receiving yards in the contest.  Robinson’s 703 yards receiving this season is the most by a UF wide receiver since 2007.

On defense, Florida senior linebacker Michael Taylor says his unit did its job.

“It’s good because the (EKU) defense is on the field getting tired and the offense is on the field moving the ball while we’re off the field making adjustments to the three plays that they ran. Anytime you’re on the sideline you can make adjustments to keep the other team off the field that’s good as long as you get three and out”.

Fan favorite and senior Mike McNeely came into the game in the fourth quarter to catch a 28 yard pass from Driskel for his first offensive touchdown. Muschamp commends McNeely’s involvement on the team.

“Mike’s been a guy that’s done a fantastic job for us on special teams and everyone points to the fake against Georgia but he’s been a really good cover guy for us on punt, kick off, and kick off return he’s done a great job.”

Emotions were high as the entire team walked to the band and started a “Champ” chant praising their head coach. As for after the game, confidence was not missing as the Gators look to end the regular season with a win at unbeaten Florida State.

Linebacker Alex McCalister thinks the team’s chances are good.

“I love my chances, I love our chances. I mean the whole team is clicking, we got a win and we are going to go from there.”

Florida is the last team to beat Florida State back in 2012. Florida had a big win in the Swamp for one last time this year, but it would be a somewhat ironic to end the Muschamp Era if the Gators could pull out another road win in Tallahassee.

To hear the audio of the quotes above click on the links below:

Jeff Driskel 1
Will Muschamp 2
Michael Taylor 1
Will Muschamp 5
Alex McCalister 4

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2014 SEC Champions: Florida Volleyball Wins SEC Crown Outright With Victory at Ole Miss‏

By on November 22nd, 2014

The 2014 SEC volleyball title belongs to the sixth ranked Gators, with a 3-1 victory at Ole Miss (20-9, 6-9 SEC) and Florida’s 17th consecutive victory as the exclamation point Friday evening.

After clinching at least a share of the title last week at Kentucky, the Orange and Blue battled it out with the Rebels in Oxford to earn the program’s 21st SEC championship outright (25-22, 25-23, 24-26, 25-11).

Behind a double-double from junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino — 49 assists, 11 digs — and a career-best 16 kills from junior middle Simone Antwi, Florida moved to 22-3 overall this season and an undefeated 16-0 in SEC play to ensure the SEC title, UF’s third in the last five years, returned to Gainesville.

Antwi hit .560 for the Gators, while sophomore right side Alex Holston led the Orange and Blue with 18 kills offensively. Senior libero Holly Pole rallied for a team-high 14 digs to join Dagostino in double-digit scoops. Florida hit .331, limited Ole Miss to a .149 clip and posted 11 blocks to the Rebels’ seven.

Three Gators scored double-digit points for UF, including Antwi (18.0), Holston (19.0) and freshman Rhamat Alhassan (13.5), who has now led UF in blocks in 23 of 25 matches this season.

With her first dig against the Rebels Friday, senior Taylor Unroe became just the second player in Florida history to eclipse 1,500 career digs. Unroe, who ranks second all-time in the Gator record books for career digs, now has 1,505 scoops while donning the Orange and Blue.

The Gators will be back in action Sunday at Arkansas (14-14, 7-8 SEC), with first serve slated for noon from Fayetteville.

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Gator Football Becomes Bowl Eligible After Win Over Eastern Kentucky

By on November 22nd, 2014

The Florida Gator football team attains bowl eligibility Saturday after a 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky.  The win moves Florida to 6-4 on the season with a game against FSU remaining.

In Saturday’s Senior Day game, Florida quarterbacks Treon Harris and Jeff Driskel combine to throw five touchdown passes, two by Harris and three by Driskel in a relief role.

Two Gator receivers, Quinton Dunbar and Demarcus Robinson, each went over 100 yards receiving in the game as well.

The Gator defense meanwhile held the Colonels to just 142 yards of total offense.

Next up for Florida is its final regular season game when it takes on FSU in Tallahassee.

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Gators look to send off football seniors the right way with win over EKU

By on November 22nd, 2014

Saturday will bring what looks to be a very emotional day inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

The Florida Gators (5-4, 4-4) will try for just their third win inside the Swamp this weekend as they welcome the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky. The Gators will look to send 23 seniors off with one final win along with their head coach, a man who’s been with them for four years, and a lot of ups and downs.

Under Will Muschamp, the senior class never got the opportunity to go to Atlanta, saw the first non-bowl season occur in more than 20 years and saw the first losing season since 1979. However none of that matters now as the Gators currently sit just one win away from becoming bowl eligible, and junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. says they will do whatever it takes to get the job done.

“It’s just really important to send the seniors out in style. It’s their last game in the Swamp and its coach’s last game too so it’s important to send them out in the right way.”

Gator seniors such as Max Garcia, Chaz Green, Mack Brown, Kyle Christy, Darious Cummings, Neiron Ball and Andre Dubose have contributed greatly to the, and because of their efforts, coaches such as defensive coordinator D.J Durkin realize just what Saturday means.

“It is Senior Day and it’s our seniors last time playing in the Swamp. We need to go play well for them; our guys have put a lot into this program and done a lot of great things for us. We need too as a team, coaches, and players go send them out in the right way.”

Now looking a little bit closer at the game, the Gators will be looking to build off of their offensive performance of a week ago. The offense did most of their damage on the ground rushing for a total 218 yards, led by freshman quarterback Treon Harris who carried the ball 20 times for 111 yards, averaging just over five and a half yards per carry. The Gator offense attempted just 11 passes on the day, completing less than 50 percent and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper says that overall, the offense just needs to come in prepared and ready to play.

“We want to go out there Saturday with a plan, and not look as though we didn’t have a plan. We’re working hard to help these guys win a football game and that’s our job.”

The Colonels (9-2, 6-2) will be entering this game riding high having won three of their last four. The Colonels boast a talented dual threat quarterback in senior Jared McClain who has passed for over 1,100 yards this season while rushing for over 500 and a star running back in junior Dy’Shawn Mobley who has carried the ball 228 times for just under 1,400 yards. The Colonels average right at 35 points per game and Durkin talked about what makes them so good.

“Obviously their record speaks for itself, they’re winning a lot of games; they put up a lot of points on offense. They’re a spread team, they go tempo, their starting running back is a transfer from Kentucky and he’s a really good player. They run the ball and throw it down the field, they’re a good team and our guys are preparing the right way for it.”

The Colonels have seen success through their two other phases as well, the defense has forced 28 turnovers while their special teams has successfully blocked seven kicks. The nine wins the Colonels have notched this season are the most under head coach Dean Hood and he talks about what his team will need to do in order to pull off this upset.

“It’s a little bit different than other weeks. It’s more let’s stay within ourselves, do what we do well and do it to the best of our ability and let the chips fall where they may.”

While they couldn’t get it done a week ago, the Gators will be looking once again to take back the Swamp. Although it’s his final game, Muschamp says his mindset and his players have not changed a bit.

“Our guys will respond the right way and they’ll handle it with class just like they always have. It’s important for us to get these seniors a win in the Swamp and in the next two weeks get two W’s.”

Kickoff between the Gators and Colonels is set for noon on Saturday.

To hear the audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Will Muschamp talks about the team’s mentality

Roper talks about getting the team ready

Durkin talks about EKU

Durkin talks about the seniors and the importance of Saturday

Hood talks about what his team must do to win on Saturday

Fowler talks about the importance of Saturday’s game

 

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VIDEO: Gators Take The Field For Will Muschamp’s Last Home Game vs Eastern Kentucky

By on November 22nd, 2014

WRUF/ WUFT’s Bonnie Mott previews today’s matchup against Eastern Kentucky. This will be Will Muschamp  and Florida’s 22 seniors last home game of the season. Kickoff is set for noon with pregame coverage beginning at 8 a.m. on ESPN 850 WRUF.

 

 

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Gator Soccer Eliminates Cal in NCAA Tournament, Will Face Texas Tech in Sweet 16

By on November 22nd, 2014

The No. 10 Florida soccer team took care of business against California, eliminating the Golden Bears in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 3-1 win on Friday night in Gainesville.

As a team that has a tendency to concede a goal within a few minutes into a game, the Gators capitalized early when forward Savannah Jordan earned a penalty kick after getting fouled in the box three minutes into the contest.

Senior midfielder Annie Speese nailed the penalty kick with a left-footed strike past California keeper Emily Boyd to gain the early 1-0 advantage.

In the 13th minute, Jordan would send a well-timed through ball to Havana Solaun on a textbook counter attack. Solaun would chip the keeper to go up 2-0.

“We’ve been really emphasizing the first five minutes – just kind of going after it,” said Solaun. “That’s what we did today and it just really helps us settle down and play the way we want to play.”

California’s Samantha Witteman would score four minutes later off a rebound to go into halftime down 2-1. A second-half stalemate was broken in the 90th minute when Jordan notched her 18th goal of the year, going around the California keeper to seal the victory.

“We showed some great finesse,” said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh. “That second goal was a thing of beauty. And yet we showed some great grit too and that was really good to see.

On a chilly night at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium, it was evident that both teams were not afraid to be physical and attack the ball.  The Gators committed 14 fouls while California had 12 fouls of their own.

“(Cal) was determined to try and even the game up and I thought our team stepped up to that challenge, especially physically,” Burleigh added. “It did turn into a pretty physical match and our team likes to play but we also did not back down (from the physicality a bit).”

The Gators (16-4-1) will move onto the Sweet 16 where they will host Texas Tech (16-3-2) in a No.2 vs. No. 3 regional seed matchup on Sunday. The match is scheduled for 2 p.m at Dizney Stadium.

To listen to audio from the story, click below:

Burleigh on the win

Solaun on getting an early

Burleigh on matching Cal’s physicality

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Gators Get By Warhawks in OT

By on November 22nd, 2014

For the second time this week, the Florida Gator men’s basketball team let a late lead slip away at home. But this time they were able to fight back and pull out a 61-56 overtime victory over the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks to move to 2-1 on the season.

Florida led by eight points after a pair of free throws from junior guard Michael Frazier II with two minutes left, and the Gators seemed to have finally put away the feisty Warhawks. But Louisiana Monroe answered with an 8-0 run, finished off with a game-tying three pointer from sophomore guard Nick Cappola with 21 seconds remaining. Florida had a chance to take the final shot, but didn’t get one off as Frazier dribbled the ball off of his leg in the closing seconds, sending the game to overtime.

Gator head coach Billy Donovan broke down Cappola’s shot, saying he told his big men to step up and challenge three’s but forward Chris Walker failed to step up on the shot.

“We talk about switching at the end of the game when they run the pick and roll in the middle of the floor, and talk to both of our bigs like listen, your feet have got to be above the three point line. And Chris Walker switches and waiting for the guy to come off is below the three point line and bang, the game’s tied.”

The Gators and Warhawks exchanged points through the first three minutes of overtime, but a Jon Horford dunk with 1:20 left put Florida ahead 56-54, a lead it would not relinquish. The Gators hit some clutch free throws down to put the game away.

Despite squandering a chance to put the game away in regulation, Donovan says getting the win in overtime was a positive thing for his club.

“I actually think it was really, really good for our team,” Donovan said. “I don’t think we have any concept of what even goes into winning, and we need this right now.”

Frazier led the Gators with 21 points, going 4 of 11 from the field and 11 of 13 from the free throw line. Freshman guard Chris Chiozza provided a spark off the bench, putting up 11 points, four assists and four steals.

Frazier and Chiozza were the only Gators to reach double digits in scoring, as the team shot 33% from the floor while going three of 15 (20%) from three.

“I knew tonight we were going to struggle to scoring, you can’t take our two leading scorers off the floor and expect to put up a lot of points,” Donovan said.  Florida did not play Dorian Finney-Smith or guard Eli Carter, two starters, because of injury.

Florida now sets its sights on the Battle 4 Atlantis next week in the Bahamas. The Gators will face Georgetown on Wednesday, and then Wisconsin or UAB Thursday before wrapping up the tournament against a team TBA Friday.

Tip off against the Hoyas Wednesday is set for 9:30 p.m., with coverage on Country 103.7 The Gator starting at 8:55.

Click below to listen to the audio from this story.

Donovan Talks About Cappola’s Three

Donovan says Win was Big

Donovan knew Scoring Would be Tough

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Gator Men’s Basketball Hosts Louisiana Monroe Tonight

By on November 21st, 2014

The Florida Gator men’s Basketball team (1-1) will look to defend its home court when taking on the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (2-0) in the O’Connell Center tonight.

Gator forward Chris Walker will be eligible to play tonight after missing the first two games of the season to suspension.

“I’ve seen a growth in him,where he’s kind of gotten back down to reality of I need to get better,” said Donovan about Walker. “I need to improve, I need to figure out a way to help our team. So, I mean my thing for him (tonight) is to just go out there and have both feet in the circle and to do the things that we need him to do to help us be a better team.”

Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith remains hampered by a a pair of hairline fractures, but he will be available to play if  Donovan sees fit.

The Gators lost to Miami on Monday after winning their last 33 in the O-Dome. Florida led by as many as 15 points in the second half before falling 69-67 to the Canes.

“We’ve got to have enough discipline and focus to play that (way) for 40 minutes,” Donovan said. “And to me, it’s been two games in a row right now where we’ve come out of the locker room and had a dip in intensity.”

Eli Carter (14.5 ppg) and Jon Horford (14 ppg), who scored a career-high 17 points against Miami, will look to continue their strong starts to the season. The Warhawks will be led tonight by senior forward Tylor Ongwae (17 ppg, 7 rpg), the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week.

Tip-off tonight is set for 8 p.m., and you can listen in on Country 103.7 the Gator starting at 7:25 for coverage.

Click below to listen to the audio from the story:

Donovan 2

Donovan 14

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