The eighth seed Florida volleyball team used a total team effort, including a team-leading 19 kills from sophomore right side Alex Holston and six or more digs from six different players, to weather the Miami Hurricanes 3-1 Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and earn a trip to the NCAA Regional Semifinals for the 21st time in program history.
After the Canes took the first set, 25-13, Florida rebounded to win the next three in a row 25-22, 25-20, 25-21.
Three Gators reached double-figure kills in UF’s win over the Hurricanes (22-9), including Holston (19), junior outside hitter Gabby Mallette (12) and freshman middle Rhamat Alhassan (10).
Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino set up the UF offense with 51 assists and contributed nine digs defensively.
In addition to Dagostino, senior Taylor Unroe also had nine digs to strengthen UF’s defense.
Pole served up all four of UF’s service aces against the Canes to tie a career high.
Florida head coach Mary Wise knows that despite the victory, her squad must continue to improve.
“We’re fortunate enough that we are advancing and we’re one of 16 teams,” Wise said. “Now you’re talking about playing whichever opponent we will play next weekend is going to be coming off two wins, and now they’re on a roll. So it doesn’t get any easier at this point because every team left is highly talented to get this far.”
The Orange and Blue (27-3) are riding a 22-match win streak into the Regional Semifinals, its longest streak since 2010. Florida made the Sweet 16 in 2012 and last advanced to a Regional Final in 2011 when the Gators took on Illinois in Gainesville. The Gators will now travel to Ames, Iowa, for a tilt with ninth seed Illinois (26-7) on Friday.
For post match comments from coach Wise, Mackenzie Dagostino, Gabby Mallette, and Holly Pole, click below: