It would have been easy to overlook the Razorbacks, especially after a heartbreaking five-set loss to conference forerunner Kentucky.
And after an ugly, erratic first set, it seemed like the Gators were going to sleepwalk through their match in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
But from there, UF tightened up its game and came out of Barnhill Arena with a sweep of the Razorbacks.
The 26-24, 25-16, 25-18 victory is Florida’s eighth sweep of the season and second in SEC play.
The first set was marred by a multitude of errors by both teams. The two teams hit zero percent, as they both committed as many errors as they had kills. Florida outside hitter Thayer Hall had four in the first set alone.
Errors aside, the first frame was tightly contested. No team led by more than three until the Gators (12-3, 3-1 SEC) grabbed a 23-19 lead late in the set.
However, the Razorbacks (6-10, 0-4 SEC) scored five of the next six points to tie the set at 24. UF held on for the 26-24 win after a service error and an attack error by Arkansas.
But without Florida constantly shooting itself in the foot like it did in the first set, the Razorbacks couldn’t keep up with the Gators. UF committed just 10 more attack errors in the final two sets and hit .371 in that span.
Arkansas hung with the Gators early in the second set. But with the score 9-6 in favor of Florida, UF tallied eight of the next nine points to open up a 17-7 lead. The Gators led by as much as 11 as they coasted to a 25-16 win.
Similar to the previous set, Florida held a narrow lead early in set before going on a large run to essentially seal the game — and this time, the match. UF’s 8-2 run gave it a commanding 16-8 lead. Arkansas attempted to mount a comeback and reduced the lead to just four late in the set.
However, the Gators scored five of the match’s last seven points to close out a 25-18 victory in the third set to complete the sweep.
UF’s offensive star of the night was middle blocker Rachael Kramer, who converted on seven of her eight attacks. Sophomore Lauren Dooley, Kramer’s partner in the middle, compiled a career-high 12 block assists in addition to five kills.
Follow Brendan Farrell on Twitter @Bfarrell727. Contact him at [email protected]