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Friday, May 27, 2022
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-027180e3-7fff-13c6-e7a0-674a0709acbf"><span id="docs-internal-guid-027180e3-7fff-13c6-e7a0-674a0709acbf">Senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum registered 12 kills in Florida's three-set win over LSU Friday night. </span></span></p>

Senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum registered 12 kills in Florida's three-set win over LSU Friday night. 

The No. 8 Florida volleyball team travels to Flagstaff, Arizona, to compete in the Lumberjack Invitational. The Gators begin the tournament with a doubleheader today against California State - Northridge at 12:30 p.m. and Northern Arizona at 10 p.m. The team will then face Southern Illinois on Saturday at noon.

Today's back-to-back matches will be UF’s sixth and seventh matches through the first two weeks of the season.

“With so many young players, we need more matches,” coach Mary Wise said Tuesday. “But because our players are as physical as they are, it takes more time to recover, so we will rely on our depth.”

UF (3-2) has shown that its depth can step up when it needs to. Players like senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum and redshirt sophomore setter Holly Carlton have taken their game to the next level while some of the starters have struggled.

“I would say offensively I’ve connected really well with both setters in the games against Louisville and UCF last week,” Kellum said.

The Chattanooga, Tennessee, native tallied 19 total kills against UCF and Louisville along with a seven-block performance against the Cardinals.

The Gators will also look to the right-side hitting ability of Carlton, who registered 39 kills in the three matches last weekend. Her 6-foot-7 frame, combined with her strong hits, made it almost impossible for opposing defenses to cover her.

“This week we’ll try and get even more people involved in the offense,” said Allie Monserez, the team’s fifth-year setter. “In the last match, you could kind of see our lineup change a little, so it’s just about getting everyone comfortable.”

Monserez led the roster with 82 of Florida’s assists in the Bubly Invitational.

One player who did not seem to get involved, however, was junior middle blocker, Rachael Kramer.

The 6-foot-8 Phoenix, Arizona, native has yet to log 10 kills in a match this season and has swung a meager .092 hitting percentage.

“In Rachael’s case, it’s just a matter of reps with both setters and getting her to increase her range,” Wise said. “No concern that that’s not going to happen.”

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Kramer and company will face a Matadors team (2-4) that presents a spirited offense.

Senior outside hitter Aeryn Owens and junior middle blocker Morgan Salone were both named to the CSUN/Pepperdine Challenge All-Tournament team on Sept. 1 after their impressive play in the tournament.

Owens led her team in kills in all three matches of the CSUN-Pepperdine Challenge, averaging 4.08 kills per set, while Salone had a .439 hitting percentage with only two attack errors in the tournament.

Florida’s back-row defense will be the key to stopping the Matadors’ offensive duo.

“It’s so hard to kill balls in our own gym,” Monserez said. “Our defenders are so good, especially the freshmen, they are just all-out effort all the time.”

 

@dyrudolph

drudolph@alligator.org.

 

Senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum registered 12 kills in Florida's three-set win over LSU Friday night. 

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