After kicking off their 2014 SEC schedule an undefeated 2-0 with sweeps at Auburn and against Ole Miss, the ninth ranked Gators hit the road for a two-match road swing at LSU and Mississippi State.
Florida sophomore right side Alex Holston and junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette shined for the Orange and Blue Friday evening offensively, while junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino was the star from behind the service line for the Gators as the UF volleyball squad topped LSU 3-1 (25-12, 23-25, 25-11, 25-22) to chalk up its fourth straight win.
With the Gators up 2-1 in the match, Florida (9-3, 3-0 SEC) found itself down 22-18 in the fourth set, spurring a Gator time out. Out of the break after Dagostino won a joust, helping UF close out the match with an impressive 7-0 run to take the frame 25-22 for a 3-1 victory in Tiger territory.
Holston led all Florida scorers with a team-best 16 kills (.452), while Mallette turned in a season-best performance with 12 kills and a .524 hitting efficiency. Both Florida middles aided the Gator efforts, freshman Rhamat Alhassan with double-digit kills (10) and six blocks, while junior Simone Antwi notched eight slams and a season-best six blocks. Senior Holly Pole scooped up a squad-best 18 digs.
The Orange and Blue held the Tigers (5-7, 0-3 SEC) to a .117 hitting percentage as LSU became the seventh opponent this season that UF has forced to operate below a .200 hitting efficiency, including all three league opponents so far.
On Sunday the Gators made it three conference sweeps with a 3-0 victory at Mississippi State to cap off a two-match SEC road swing and stay undefeated in league play. The Orange and Blue (10-3, 4-0 SEC) defeated the Bulldogs (25-18, 25-18, 25-23) for UF’s 22nd straight victory in Starkville.
Junior middle blocker Simone Antwi led the charge for the Gators against the Bulldogs, putting down 11 kills with a .562 clip in the match. Antwi and fellow middle, freshman Rhamat Alhassan, (10) posted the only two double-digit kill performances in the match, while the duo combined for four blocks on the afternoon. Alhassan hit .389 for the Orange and Blue. The Gators hit .302 as a team and had no reception errors for the third time this season.
Mississippi State (5-14, 0-4 SEC) hit just .149 as a team against the Gators, becoming the eighth opponent this season the Gators have forced to operate below a .200 hitting efficiency, including all four SEC opponents so far.
After spending three of the first four SEC matches on the road, Florida returns home to the friendly confines of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for its first complete home weekend of the conference season. UF hosts SEC rival Georgia Friday at 7 p.m., while Texas A&M visits Gainesville Sunday for a 2 p.m. match up.