Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Monday, May 27, 2024

There should be little doubt as to who is currently the best volleyball team in the Southeastern Conference.

Prior to the season, SEC coaches picked Tennessee to win the conference over Florida.

But UF had something to say about that Sunday.

The No. 3 Gators (8-1, 2-0) finished their tough SEC road trip in Knoxville, Tenn., with a 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17) victory over No. 18 Tennessee (9-2, 1-1).

Setter Kelly Murphy and right side hitter Tangerine Wiggs came up big for the Gators, hitting .410 and .400, respectively.

Murphy recorded her third triple-double of the season, and 18th of her career, after a performance of 19 kills, 25 assists and 14 digs. Wiggs helped out with a career-high 10 kills.

Cassandra Anderson added to the right side’s production, hitting a team-best .556 with five kills on only nine total attacks. Three of her kills came in the fourth set.

“I thought our setters, both Kelly and Chanel [Brown], did a great job of getting the ball to the right side,” coach Mary Wise said.

Brown continued to play less like a freshman after a match-high 29 assists. 

Callie Rivers and Kristy Jaeckel rounded out the four Gators to finish with double-digit kills. Rivers and Jaeckel finished with 10 and 12 kills, respectively.

Although Rivers only hit .182, she made up for her low percentage with a match-high 17 digs. Jaeckel, who did not do much better, hitting .226, had nine digs and four blocks.

“Our middles might not have been big point scorers offensively, they were huge in terms of blocking,” Wise said. “We won that match blocking balls.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe hit .000 for the day against the Volunteers after recording just four kills on 15 total attacks. However, Bledsoe was the match’s best defender, recording eight blocks and even serving an ace.

After the Gators hit .372 and .303 in the first two sets, the team performed poorly in the third set, hitting .000 on nine attack errors — the combined total of their first two sets.

They turned it around in the fourth set, hitting .471 as a team with just one attack error.

 “This is one of those matches where you can look down the roster and see the contributions out of everyone,” Wise said. “From the back-row play of Callie, to the blocking of our middles, the triple-double by Kelly, the offense of Tangerine Wiggs and the great libero performance by Erin [Fleming], this will go down as a total team effort tonight.”

Florida held Tennessee — a team coming into the weekend hitting .302 — to just .170 after blocking the Volunteers 14 times.

“It was an epic Tennessee-Florida battle,” Wise said. “It was good stuff going toe-to-toe. It was high-level volleyball for this early in the season.”

The win over the Volunteers came two days after Florida opened SEC play with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-20) victory over No. 22 Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., on Friday night. The Gators are now 20-0 in SEC openers under Wise.

A radio broadcast contributed to this report.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.