More than 2,200 fans piled into the O'Connell Center on Thursday, eager for a full night of Florida volleyball. Just 65 minutes later, they were headed home.
Sports | Volleyball
A year later, they haven’t forgotten the game that got away.
Since being embarrassed by Kentucky on their home floor on Oct. 15, the Gators (25-1, 17-1 SEC) have reeled off 11 consecutive wins, including a revenge victory against the Wildcats in Lexington on Nov. 1.
It didn’t take much for Shainah Joseph to get fired up during the Gators’ final match of the regular season.
In what may have been her last home match, Carli Snyder put on a show.
Reed Arena fell silent when Rachael Kramer hit the floor with an ankle injury.
On paper, it’s not even close.
Tears, hugs and smiles filled the O’Connell Center during the pregame ceremony as the Gators honored their seniors. Caroline Knop, Lindsey Rogers, Shainah Joseph, Carli Snyder and Rhamat Alhassan were all joined by family members before defeating the Missouri Tigers in four sets, 25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16 .
Rachael Kramer, 6-foot-8, and Shainah Joseph, 6-foot-1, jumped in unison in front of the net, both hands in the air. Their teammate, freshman Paige Hammons, set her feet in the backcourt, bracing for Pilar Victoria’s attack, should it pass through the outstretched arms of Kramer and Joseph.
Two hours, seventeen minutes and a grueling five sets later, the Gators got the win.
She’s an athlete.
Shainah Joseph launched herself upward from the right side of the court. The redshirt senior hung in mid-air, wound up and spiked the ball straight into the middle of Tennessee’s defense. No one on the home team could return it.
Rhamat Alhassan would not be stopped.
Florida’s volleyball players usually say they take things one match at a time because their only focus is the next opponent.
In UF’s second contest in three days, Florida controlled its match and took home its 18th win of the season on the road against the unranked Mississippi State Bulldogs (9-17, 0-11 SEC), 25-18, 25-10, 25-15.
Rhamat Alhassan launched herself straight up in front the net, as if she was on a pogo stick, and did what she does better than all but two players in the country.
Shock is all Steve Rogers felt when he heard the news, as he was lying in his hospital bed, recovering from surgery on his ruptured pancreas.
The Gators are beginning to bounce back from their biggest disappointment of the season.
Positioned on the right side of the floor, Shainah Joseph jumped up and sent a kill to the back left corner of Auburn’s half of the court.
Carli Snyder approached the left side of the net. With a set from Cheyenne Huskey, the senior outside hitter smacked a shot across the court and into the deck at the beginning of the match to jumpstart Florida’s sweep of Alabama 25-17, 25-18, 25-17.