UF right-side hitter Alex Holston (3) celebrates during Florida's 3-0 win against St. John's on Sept. 17, 2015, in the O'Connell Center.

Aaron Albright / Alligator Staff

UF’s volleyball team wasn’t expecting this.

Heading into Saturday’s home match against Marshall, the No. 7 Gators had made a habit of starting strong, winning the opening set in each of their first 10 matches.

And yet, after one frame, they found themselves trailing an unranked opponent.

However, things changed soon enough — powered by the three-headed monster of Rhamat Alhassan, Alex Holston and Carli Snyder, the Gators (10-1) overcame Marshall (9-4), earning their 10th consecutive victory of the season at the Active Ankle Challenge.

“The big three,” head coach Mary Wise said. “I think we need to come up with a moniker for those three, because when those three play well, the Gators benefit.”

However, it took a set for the squad to get in gear.

Florida opened the first frame on a negative note — backed by a vocal contingent of fans, Marshall attackers came at the Gators’ front row in waves, whipping 47 kill attempts in a back-and-forth set that saw 10 ties.

“We knew Marshall was gonna come out with a lot of energy, a lot of fight,” senior hitter Alex Holston said. “They’re a really good team, very competitive, very feisty and scrappy.”

But while they may have been prepared for the Herd’s combative personality, the Gators didn’t do themselves many favors.

Teammates miscommunicated. Players bumped into and stumbled over each other. Seemingly routine plays misfired, compounding the effects of two controversial calls that went against UF.

Their opposition took advantage.

By the time the whistle blew, Marshall had clinched the opening set 25-23, putting the Gators in an unfamiliar position.

And then, something clicked.

Errors began to plague Marshall, and Florida capitalized in turn. Over the course of the next two sets, the Herd committed 14 errors to the Gators’ four, including four service errors within the first eight points of the third set.

Florida’s attack found its swing, hitting .440 as a team and taking the second and third games by a combined score of 50-33.

Catalyzing the offense, setter Allie Monserez turned in a career-high 53 assists, earning a double-double (12 digs) in the process.

“She’s really found her groove in the setter position,” Snyder said. “She’s actually one of my very best friends off the court. … Her and I just have a very good trust in each other, and that’s something that our team has.”

As the contest wore on, that trust became evident.

With the Windermere, Florida, native feeding them, Alhassan, Holston and Snyder accounted for 51 of the team’s 59 total kills. Snyder’s 21 led the bunch, and her showing was good enough to earn her tournament MVP honors.

The front line also came up big, registering 15 total blocks while holding the opposition to a .154 hitting percentage in the decisive fourth set and .190 overall.

“We don’t win that match without the blocking,” Wise said. “(Those) 15 blocks were key.”

In all, Florida strung together a solid showing, with its hitting efficiency (.375) and blocks per set (3.75) figures both eclipsing its seasonal averages.

And with conference play just around the corner, the team will be looking to learn from today’s performance.

“We’re the best when we’re the Gators,” Snyder said.

“We just have to go back to, when we have a tough first set like that, let’s be the Gators. It’s not hard to do.”

Contact Alejandro Lopez at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ajlb95.