Gator volleyball gets a win, Gator soccer on the road, college football, NFL and a Miami Marlin gets sent to the hospital, all in our Friday Sports Update…
** The UF volleyball team downs San Diego Thursday in three games to move to 5-2 on the season. Florida now plays USC tonight. Meanwhile, Gator soccer continues a road swing today as they travel to face Stanford while facing New Mexico Sunday on the road.
** In college football, BYU beats Houston 33-25 and Louisiana Tech downs North Texas 42-21. Tonight, Cincinnati plays Toledo and Buffalo squares off against nationally ranked Baylor.
** In the NFL, Baltimore at home throttles Pittsburgh 26-6 as both teams now have 1-1 records on the year.
** In high school football, Ocala Trinity Catholic downs Eastside 45-21 to keep the Rams winless this season. Tonight, a lot of great games in the area like Dixie County-Trenton, Columbia County at Buchholz and Suwannee County at Santa Fe.
** In baseball, Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton was taken to the hospital after being hit in the face by a pitch last night against Milwaukee. Stanton was having a great year and was in MVP consideration in the National League.
** On the field, Milwaukee beat Miami 4-2 while Tampa Bay blows a lead late and loses to the New York Yankees 5-4. This weekend, Tampa Bay plays red hot Toronto; Miami is at Philadelphia and Atlanta is at Texas.
** Former Gator golfer Billy Horschel is playing well on the PGA Tour as his opening round 66 ties him for the lead at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
** NASCAR’s Chase For The Cup begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway; for the first time it will feature a 16 driver field and have three rounds of elimination.
Gator freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan was unstoppable as the 10th ranked Florida volleyball squad (4-2) swept through 13th ranked San Diego (5-2) to open play at the USC Classic in the City of Angels. The Gators downed the Toreros (25-22, 25-19, 25-14) and moved head coach Mary Wise to career win number 799, one away from the 800 victory milestone.
The match marked their third three-set sweep for the Orange and Blue on the 2014 season. The victory was also the first for Florida over a ranked opponent this season.
The 6’4″ Alhassan hit .800 for the second time this season, along with a career-high 16 kills on 20 errorless swings, while leading the Gators in blocking for the sixth straight match with five against the Toreros. Sophomore right side Alex Holston turned in a career-best .538 hitting efficiency (7-0-13) and freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder had herself a night with a .462 clip and eight kills as the Gators registered their best offensive output of the season with a .449 hitting percentage.
The Orange and Blue will now set sights on home team and tournament host, sixth ranked USC, as the Gators and Trojans match up at 10:30 p.m., and you can listen in on ESPN 850 WRUF starting at 10:20 p.m.
The 10th ranked Gator volleyball team is California this weekend, as Florida (3-2) heads down the final stretch of a tough non-conference slate at the USC Classic in Los Angeles. The Orange and Blue will match up against 13th ranked San Diego (5-1) and number six USC (6-0) as part of the four-team tournament that also features SEC rival Texas A&M (although the Gators will not be facing them).
The Gators come into this weekend looking bounce back from two tough match ups. The Gators squared off with its first two ranked opponents of their 2014 campaign at number seven FSU before hosting second ranked Texas last week. The Orange and Blue fell short in both matches, 3-2 against the Seminoles and 3-1 in the tilt with the Longhorns to move to 3-2 overall on their season.
Senior libero Holly Pole says that despite the recent skid, the team is looking forward to their trip to the West Coast.
“It should be fun,” Pole said. “You know, our furthest trip we’ve gone is Tallahassee. So we’re all excited to get out of Florida for a little while and get out to California. Definitely two great teams in San Diego and USC, so definitely excited.”
Florida’s first challenge will be against Toreros of San Diego on Thursday night in the first meeting between the schools. The Gators will then play USC Friday night. The Trojans lead the all-time series 5-2 (all under coach Mary Wise), with the Gators winning in their last meeting in 2005 in five sets. This is the fourth time the Gators and Trojans meet in LA, and the Orange and Blue are looking for their first victory on USC’s home court.
UF’s trip to the Golden State is the second-to-last weekend of their challenging non-conference schedule. San Diego and USC will mark Florida’s fourth and fifth straight opponents, respectively, either ranked or receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25 Poll.
First serve for Thursday’s match against the Toreros is scheduled for 8 p.m; while Friday night’s matchup against the Trojans will be at 10:30 p.m. You can catch both matches on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For comments from Coach Mary Wise and Holly Pole, click here:
Wise talks about the team looking at the long-term as opposed to short-term
Pole talks about the California road trip
Pole advises her younger teammates for the road trip
The Florida football team is gearing up to open conference play this weekend as it plays Kentucky this Saturday in the Swamp. The Gators dominated Eastern Michigan 65-0 last week where Florida unleashed its revamped up-tempo offense racking up 655 total yards while giving a lot of the back ups, including true freshman quarterback Treon Harris some experience as the squad cruised to their first win of the season. Now, Florida has turned its attention and focus to preparing for its next opponent – the Wildcats. Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and a few of the Gators discussed the team’s preparations and overall status heading into this weekend’s SEC matchup.
Some unfortunate news is that true freshman cornerback J.C. Jackson will undergo shoulder surgery next week to repair a torn labrum that limited him in contact drills during fall camp. Jackson injured his shoulder during Florida’s season opening win over the Eagles and will be out for the rest of the season. Gator head coach Will Muschamp says the injury was a carry over from Jackson’s high school career. He added that Jackson will redshirt, which will give him four full years of eligibility.
“A labrum issue he had in high school that was repaired and continued to slip out,” Muschamp said. “He possibly could continue to push through the season, but we felt with his young age, go ahead and try and get it fixed and move on.”
Jackson was one of four true freshmen in the playing rotation in the secondary in the opener, alongside Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson. Durkin plans to continue rotating players in the secondary and says it’s man down, man up; and he is looking forward to seeing some of the newcomers step up and fill the void.
“We’re down one guy,” Durkin said. “We were rotating all of those freshmen that we brought in and played in that game and they’re going to continue to play for us. They’re in the rotation and they will play in the foreseeable future for games.”
“We have enough bodies back there to be all right,” he added. “I feel bad for J.C. He worked hard coming in here to put himself in a position to play and help us as a freshman. For him, he’s a quick healer. It’s a setback for him, but just a minor one. He’ll work through it and be fine. But in the meantime, the good part is we’ve been rotating a bunch of guys so we’ll be able to handle it.”
The Gators are making a few other adjustments in the wake of a high ankle sprain injury to junior offensive lineman D.J. Humphries. Fifth-year senior Chaz Green will replace Humphries, moving from right tackle to left. Humphries is expected to be out for two weeks and redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson will be the new starter at right tackle.
“I mean it’s unfortunate that we lost one of our starters,” Green added. “But at the same time, I’m glad that I have the experience and can play that side that way we don’t have to put a young player that doesn’t have the experience that I have. Thankfully we have the depth.”
Meanwhile, sophomore defensive back Marcus Maye, who was out for Florida’s season opener due to a hamstring injury, is expected to return to the gridiron, hopefully on Saturday. Durkin says he’s not 100% certain if Maye will play this weekend but will have a decision within the next few days.
“That will be an ongoing thing going on here throughout the week,” Durkin added. “Obviously I would love to have him play but that will be something we determine towards the end of the week.”
The Wildcats are 2-0 after hammering UT-Martin 59-14 in their home opener and then beating Ohio University. Despite the schedule getting tougher, Green says Florida is hoping to get its 28th consecutive win against the Cats on Saturday.
“We put on a good show and that was something to applaud, but this is SEC ball now and we know the level of competition definitely steps up and takes another jump,” Green added.
Durkin added that Kentucky is a very talented team and says taking on the Wildcats may be a bit of a challenge for the squad.
“Those guys are playing very disciplined,” he said. “They’re playing with great technique and confidence. You can tell they have a great belief in what they’re doing. Our guys know that and recognize it so we’re going to continue to have a great week of practice because we know we have a challenge ahead of us.”
Redshirt senior linebacker Michael Taylor says he’s ready to take on all opponents, especially SEC rivals.
“We welcome any team who is ready to come play us because we’re ready to play them. If they’re on our schedule – we’re ready.”
“We need every victory on our schedule,” he added. “If we are going to accomplish the goals we want to achieve this year, we need every win, and that’s what we’re going to do and get.”
The Gators welcome the Wildcats to the Swamp this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM and you can catch all the pregame action on ESPN 850 WRUF beginning at 3:30.
For audio on the above quotes, click below:
Durkin on J.C Jackson
Durkin on Marcus Maye’s status
Green on taking over for Humphries
Green on Humphries being out
Green on switching to left tackle
Taylor on Kentucky matchup
Taylor on welcoming Kentucky to the swamp
Taylor on winning games