Florida sophomore right side Alex Holston put down 14 kills, posted three blocks and served up an ace to lead the Gators to a sweep of Alabama State (25-13, 25-12, 25-12) in NCAA First Round action at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Friday night.
Florida (26-3, 18-0 SEC), won its 21st straight match Friday. The Gators held Alabama State to a -.013 hitting efficiency, while hitting at a .439 clip.
In addition to Holston, freshmen Rhamat Alhassan and Carli Snyder each posted eight kills in their NCAA Tournament debuts.
Mackenzie Dagostino set up the Florida offense with 35 assists, while contributing a team-high four service aces, including three as the Gators rattled off 10 straight points under her serve to start the match.
Senior Maddy Monserez led the Gator defense with 11 scoops and four Gators hit .500 or above, including Alhassan (.583), Snyder (.571), Holston (.522) and junior middle Simone Antwi (.833).
Florida head coach Mary Wise credited her squad’s focus as a key to victory.
“The focus of our group was exceptional in a match where we felt that our size, our physicalness above the net could be an advantage,” she said. “And at the point where we got a big lead in any one of the three sets, it would have been easy for our team to lose focus, and that was something we did early on. But the growth of this team, couldn’t be happier with how this team stayed on task and there were areas where we got better.”
The victory sets up a Florida-Miami Showdown Saturday at 7 p.m. The Hurricanes defeated the UCF Knights in five sets (25-22, 18-25, 25-10, 23-25, 15-10), setting up the the first meeting ever between the two schools. The Hurricanes were led by senior outside hitter Savanah Leaf, who posted an NCAA Tournament, O’Connell Center record, 31 kills.
The winner of Saturday evening’s matchup will advance to the Ames, Iowa, Regional site December 12-13.
You can catch the call of the Florida-Miami face off on ESPN 850 WRUF.
For post game comments from coach Wise, Mackenzie Dagostino, Alex Holston, and Carli Snyder, click below:
Wise recaps the match against Alabama State
Wise previews her squad’s match against Miami
Dagostino recaps the team’s performance
Dagostino on the team’s strong service game
Holston on playing in her second NCAA Tournament match