Saturday’s five-set win over the Texas A&M Aggies was memorable in more ways than one.
It gave Florida’s four seniors a proper sendoff on their home court, capped off with a share of the SEC title with the Kentucky Wildcats.
With the win, the Gators notched their 24th conference title, all of which have been claimed under coach Mary Wise. The program now has the second-most SEC championships at the University of Florida, behind women’s tennis.
Florida’s win put the team in a prime position for this year’s NCAA Tournament, which was announced Sunday evening.
The No. 10 Gators (25-4) will host the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday with Alabama State, UCF and FSU also in the pool of four. Florida State will take on Central Florida at 4:30 p.m. followed by Florida’s matchup against Alabama State (17-21) at 7 p.m.
Three of Florida’s players were also named to All-SEC Honors: sophomore outside hitter Thayer Hall, junior outside hitter Paige Hammons and senior middle blocker Rachael Kramer, who was also named SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Kramer’s recognition marks the fourth time in her collegiate career that she has claimed SEC honors. She has racked up a top-5 ranking in three categories in the program’s history: hitting percentage (fifth at .406), blocks (also fifth at 458) and block assists (fourth at 409).
The 6-foot-8 middle blocker posted double-figure kills in 10 matches this season while also logging a .400 hitting percentage (or higher) in 15 matches.
Hammons’ SEC honor is the second recognition she has had in her career. The junior has played a pivotal role in stabilizing Florida’s offense, notching nine double-figure kill matches and coming in at third on the team’s roster with 241 kills on the year.
Hall notched her second SEC recognition in as many years Sunday. She ranks first on the squad in kills (398), second in digs (263) and service aces (33) and fourth in blocks (55). She logged 12 double-doubles this season, too.
Hall is the cornerstone of this Florida squad, and she’ll likely continue to do so in the years to come.
But in the meantime, the Gators will shift their focus to Round 1 and another shot at an NCAA Championship title.
Follow Mari Faiello on Twitter @faiello_mari. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org