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Thursday, November 30, 2023
<p>Holly Pole serves during Florida's 3-0 win against Missouri on Oct. 24 in the O'Connell Center</p>

Holly Pole serves during Florida's 3-0 win against Missouri on Oct. 24 in the O'Connell Center

On Friday, Florida outright clinched its 21st Southeastern Conference title in program history.

And on Sunday, Florida (23-3, 17-0 SEC) turned around and made the most service errors in a match for the season in a win against Arkansas (14-15, 8-8 SEC).

It wasn’t the offensive effort of Meredith Hays or the defensive prowess of Kori Ortiz that kept Arkansas close in Florida’s four-set win, but rather the 45 total errors Florida made throughout the match.

The Razorbacks took the first set in a close 27-25 win but couldn’t manage to get its team attack clip above .083, which ultimately stopped Arkansas’ productivity over the net.

Heading into the weekend matches, coach Mary Wise was looking for her team to continue to improve its performance to prepare for the postseason.

"I think you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse," Wise said on Wednesday. "There is no maintaining. We have played these team – all (two) remaining teams on the schedule – this is the second time around… we get to spend (time) making this Gator team better."

In total, Florida had four players with three or more service errors. Senior Taylor Unroe led the team with four, while Holly Pole, Mackenzie Dagostino and Alex Holston made three each.

However, while Dagostino and Pole had three service errors, they both managed to make two aces each.

UF did get a small reprieve during the second set when Holston managed to serve five consecutive plays. Holston’s performance helped get Florida back into a rhythm and limited serving errors for the remainder of the set.

While Holston’s stint serving helped the Gators put together key offensive possessions, she also managed to land a service ace, three blocks and nine kills to aid Florida in its win.

While Florida struggled in serving — finishing the match with 19 serving errors — the team still managed to finish the match with a combined .300 hitting clip and 54 total kills.

Junior Gabby Mallette and freshman Carli Snyder were the two biggest scorers for Florida, making 13 and 11 kills, respectively. Snyder’s 11 kills set her new career high in SEC play.

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"The offensive balance for us today was evident," Wise said in a release. "Our balance was key, along with the combination of play between our front row and our back row to keep Arkansas’ hot hitters from hurting us more than they did."

With Florida’s final matches against South Carolina on Wednesday and No. 3 Texas on Saturday, the Gators won’t have room for errors if they want to stay competitive in the last two games before the NCAA Tournament kicks off.

Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @Edenotero_l

Holly Pole serves during Florida's 3-0 win against Missouri on Oct. 24 in the O'Connell Center

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