Reed Arena fell silent when Rachael Kramer hit the floor with an ankle injury.
The 6-foot-8 middle blocker floated left in her jump block with Carli Snyder and came down on Snyder’s right foot, rolling her left ankle in the process.
After walking herself off the court, Kramer didn’t return for the rest of the first set.
Despite missing their star sophomore for the first third of the match, the No. 3 Gators (23-1, 15-1 SEC) defeated the Aggies (7-15, 4-11 SEC) in College Station, Texas, on Wednesday night in three swift sets, 25-18, 25-22, 25-20.
Florida’s seniors were a crucial factor in keeping the lead for the Gators for the entire opening set.
Carli Snyder was one of the more prominent seniors on the court, tied for leading the team with four kills in the first set. The Gators took the opening set against the Aggies with no tied scores and no lead changes.
In the second set, the Aggies took an early lead, 4-1. Kramer returned to the match but, freshman outside hitter Paige Hammons and senior middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan helped Florida fight back to take the lead.
Alhassan led the match overall with 13 kills and 5 blocks while Hammons consistency at the pin to helped Florida extend rallies and make big plays throughout the match.
After coach Mary Wise called a timeout at 22-all, Alhassan and Hammons helped secure Florida’s second set win (25-22) with three collective kills.
Kramer helped the Gators establish a strong lead in the third set with a block and kill in the first seven points of the set. Florida maintained their lead for the rest of the match and sealed its match sweep with a third set win, 25-20.
The Gators improved in many areas since their last matchup with the Aggies back in October. Taking away fewer service errors, fewer hitting errors and block errors, the Gators came out with a win in three sets instead of four.
There were many standouts from Wednesday’s match including junior middle blocker Taelor Kellum, who stepped in for Kramer during the first set. Kellum came into the match with little playing experience so far this season (totaling six sets prior), but kept the momentum going in the opening set with a kill and other attacks in the match.
Florida exposed the Aggies’ defense with an aggressive offense scoring multiple points by tipping to the middle of the court and making appropriate adjustments with the block.
Florida’s aggression led to a few mistakes as the Gators gave the Aggies 11 points on service errors alone.
Up next for the Gators is a home match against Auburn on Wednesday at the O’Connell Center at 7 p.m.
“We’re always trying to focus on what we can work on today,” Alhassan said.
You can follow Mari Faiello on Twitter @mari_faiello, and contact her at [email protected].