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Friday, February 03, 2023
Rachael Kramer
Rachael Kramer

Sophomore Thayer Hall jumped up for the ball and fired a kill past Northern Arizona’s Abby Akin, Hall’s 13th kill of the evening. 

It was also her 23rd of the day and 38th of the week. 

Hall and the No. 11 Gators (8-2) completed a perfect doubleheader on Friday with sweeps against Liberty (6-4) and Northern Arizona (7-4). UF outscored their opponents 150-94 across the two matches. 

“To play the back-to-back matches and not drop a set, there was a lot of good things happening,” coach Mary Wise said. “Key story is the play of Thayer Hall, .388, that’s just not a number on 49 swings. You usually see that from a middle, not an outside hitter.”

Here’s how it happened:

Gators extinguish Flames

Wise emphasized leading up to this weekend that there isn’t that large of a talent gap in college volleyball.

But Liberty had no answers for Florida’s best. Hall, senior Rachael Kramer and junior Paige Hammons were nearly unstoppable in Friday’s sweep of the Flames. All three hit double-digit kills, with Kramer leading the trio (12).

UF as a team hit a whopping .398 in the match and stifled a Flames attack that had the 59th-best hitting percentage in the country leading up to the match. 

The Gators found themselves in a tight first set and trailing 15-13 when Wise called timeout. Florida came out of the stoppage with a renewed intensity and scored six points in a row to take an 18-15 lead, one it would not relinquish. In total, UF tallied 12 of the last 18 points of the set to emerge with a 25-21 victory. 

From there, it was a quick burn for the Flames. The Gators took nine of the first 13 points of the second set, and UF came out on top with a comfortable 25-17 win. 

It wouldn’t get any better for Liberty in the third set, either. 

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The Gators quickly wrapped up the sweep with a dominant 25-12 result in the third frame. Liberty hit just .074 in the set, which Florida led from start to finish. It registered 17 of the first 24 points in the frame and converted on a third of its attacks. 

Following a 2-1 lead early in the second set, Liberty never held another lead. 

Florida chops down Lumberjacks

In the evening, the Gators picked up from where they left off. UF wouldn’t let Northern Arizona upset it two years in a row, especially not on its own court. 

Northern Arizona held its own for all of 10 points in the first set. With the score even at five, Kramer smashed a kill for the first of nine straight points for the Gators. Florida steamrolled NAU for the rest of the set en route to a 25-14 win. 

The second set was much like the first one. The Lumberjacks grabbed their only lead of the match with the first point of the frame, but they were completely overwhelmed after that. Leading by just three points in the middle of the set, Florida scored five of the next six points to open up an 18-11 lead to effectively put it out of reach. 

The Gators secured a 25-17 win by tallying six of the last eight points of the set, with sophomore Lauren Dooley scoring three kills. 

Florida completed the sweep with a dominant 25-13 victory in the third set to cap off the day. Northern Arizona only had five more kills (21) than it had attack errors (16) against Florida and a hitting percentage of .053. 

Contact Brendan Farrell at and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727. 

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