In what may have been her last home match, Carli Snyder put on a show.
After dropping the opening set, Florida (24-1, 16-1 SEC) roared back and held on to win at home against Auburn (15-11, 8-9 SEC) Wednesday night (22-25, 25-10, 25-16, 25-22). Snyder had a double-double and tied her career-high with 21 kills.
“She’s an All-American,” Florida coach Mary Wise said of Snyder after the match.
The first set was a back-and-forth, seesaw affair featuring six ties and nearly identical box scores on both sides, but a 7-0 Auburn run midway through the set proved to be the difference.
Down 22-24, Shainah Joseph mashed one across the court to pull within one, but the call was overturned after referees reviewed the play. The ruling gave Auburn the set, 25-22.
Florida showed short memory in the second set, scoring 10 in a row to open up a 14-4 lead over the Tigers.
“Credit to Paige (Hammons) for that serving run,” Alhassan said. “That was an amazing serving run.”
Alhassan (6 kills) Snyder (5 kills) also fueled a dominant second-set performance by the Gators, who overwhelmed Auburn with a blistering .613 clip with no errors.
The Gators kept rolling through the third set, maintaining the lead throughout.
“(The second set) kind of set the precedent,” Alhassan said. “We knew after we did this in the set, we just need to do for the remainder of this match.”
Florida’s defense, which leads the SEC in every major category, had been relatively quiet to start the game. In the third set it came alive, holding the Tigers to a .043 hitting percentage while racking up four of the team’s seven blocks on the night.
Up 2-1, Florida went blow for blow with the Tigers in the fourth set. With its back against the wall Auburn clawed its way to an 18-17 lead, but the Gators responded with four consecutive points — three from Snyder — and a service error by the Tigers’ Payton White a few plays later clinched the win for the home team.
Florida held Auburn’s backcourt duo of Alexa Filley and Jesse Earl — both All-SEC selections — to a combined five kills.
Rachael Kramer was quietly productive. Her 12 kills on 23 attacks, with no errors, were overshadowed by Snyder’s heroics and Alhassan’s big news.
Joseph pitched in 10 kills with one error, part of Florida’s second-best hitting performance of the season. Alhassan finished with 13 kills and a match-high six blocks (EDIT:, hours after being named SEC Player of the Year).
She entered the match averaging an NCAA-best 1.80 kills per set, and her .401 hitting percentage ranks 18th nationally.
“If you look at Rhamat’s numbers, it’s been almost a decade since any NCAA player has matched her numbers,” Wise said. “She’s a once-every-10-year type of player. We appreciate our league recognizing what a special talent she is.”
The Gators conclude the regular season Saturday at Missouri (19-10, 12-4 SEC). The NCAA Tournament bracket will be released Sunday, and the postseason will begin on Nov. 30.
“It’s (Missouri’s) senior night and their last home match, they’re a very, very dangerous team,” Wise said. “We’re going to have to play one of our best matches of the year.”
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Carli Snyder attempts a kill during Florida's 3-0 win against Florida A&M on Sept. 15 at the O'Connell Center.