In the middle of the second set, Carli Snyder took a shot to the face after an attempted dig from libero Caroline Knop. The deflected ball didn’t stop her though, as she rebounded to carry her team to another SEC victory against the Texas A&M Aggies (4-7, 1-3 SEC), 26-24, 25-23, 25-27, 25-10.
For Snyder, it was a typical night on the court. The senior racked up double-digit kills for the tenth time this season, and also provided a defensive spark in the backcourt by coming up with eight digs, as well.
The Gators (12-0, 4-0 SEC), however, found trouble at times trying to combat the ferocious defense of the Aggies. Texas A&M forced Florida into 20 attack errors after it only committed nine total errors in three sets against LSU on Sunday.
“At first, we were a little bit slower to catching up to (Texas A&M),” redshirt senior Shainah Joseph said. “But towards the end, we definitely figured it out, so that’s a good thing.”
UF’s service game struggled throughout the match, as well. The team picked up double-digit service errors for the second straight game, the only times the Gators have done it this season.
“When you have the ranking that we have right now, people are going to play you at their very best,” Snyder said. “And you’re going to get people with nothing to lose, and I think we have to respond better to that.”
Overall, it was an average game that saw Florida sneak out of the O’Connell Center with its perfect record still intact. In addition to Snyder’s contributions, Joseph was a rock on the right side, notching 15 kills and a team-high .481 hitting percentage.
“She was good, and consistent and stable all match long,” Snyder said. “I think we all just had to embody what she was doing for us and say, ‘hey, look at Shainah. She’s playing low-error offense, she’s blocking well, she’s killing the balls she should kill. Let’s all climb on her back.”
Knop continued her consistent defensive play, gathering 20 digs and providing a solid defensive stronghold for the Gators. And while the blocks didn’t accumulate to the usual amount (12 altogether), pressure up front from Alhassan, Rachael Kramer and Shainah Joseph caused struggles for A&M, as the Aggies were held to a .170 hitting percentage.
For A&M, sophomore outside hitter Hollyann Hans led the Aggies in kills with 12. Senior libero Amy Houser kept A&M in the game with her serves, gathering a game-high three aces in the match. After the match, coach Mary Wise called A&M “low-error”, giving them credit for their efforts on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
“We may not be pretty yet, but if we can win ugly, they might’ve taken that a little too far,” Wise said. “And it was about the errors. It was about the high volume of unforced errors where Texas A&M didn’t have to do anything.”
Up next for Florida is a matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs on Sunday. The Gators are a staggering 61-9 against Georgia in their long-tenured history and hold a 58-1 record under head coach Mary Wise, with her only loss coming in 2008 in five sets.
With tonight’s win, Wise became the all-time winningest female coach in Division I volleyball with her 887th victory. Wise will also have the opportunity to join the 900 win club this season, as well.
You can follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1, and contact him at email@example.com.