Gator Volleyball Wins Five-Set Thriller at Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Stellar performances by senior middle blocker Chloe Mann, freshman right-side hitter Alex Holston and junior libero Taylor Unroe pushed the No. 5 Gator volleyball team to a five-set victory (24-26, 25-23, 25-8, 24-26, 16-14) over Texas A&M Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena. It was Florida’s second straight five-set win at Texas A&M.
Unroe was unreal from behind the service line, smashing a career-high six service aces, including back-to-back aces to seal the match. Her serve on match point rolled off the top of the tape and dropped untouched to give the Gators the 16-14 fifth set victory.
Senior CLASS Award finalist and First Team All-American Mann had a career performance against the Aggies, crushing 22 kills Sunday, a new career high. Mann hit a match-high .606 and added three blocks for a career-high 24 points. Holston tallied a career-high 21 kills, including six in both the second and fourth sets, hitting .459 on the afternoon.
· Florida’s 100 points tie for the third-most in program history in the rally scoring era, matching the total from the Gators’ five-set victory over Tennessee on Nov. 21, 2004.
· For the second straight match, four Gators tallied double-figure kills and double-digit digs. Offensively, Mann (22), Holston (21), Gabby Mallette (10) and Živa Recek (10). Defensively, Florida was led by junior defensive specialist Holly Pole (14), Recek (14), Unroe (12) and sophomore defensive specialist Nikki O’Rourke (10).
· Unroe not only notched six service aces, she pushed the Gators on an 8-0 run in the third set. In that stretch, the Muncie, Ind. native tallied four of her six aces.
· Sophomore middle blocker Simone Antwi was impressive defensively for the Gators, stuffing a match-high five blocks. She had 13 points on the afternoon with eight kills and two service aces against the Aggies.
Double Dip: Reigning AVCA National Freshman of the Year Recek turned in her 17th career double-double against the Aggies, her eighth of 2013.
Comeback Kids: The Gators twice dug themselves out of a large deficit, coming back from down 9-16 in the second set to edge the Aggies, 25-23, behind the serve of junior defensive specialist Madison Monserez. Florida was also down six in the fourth set and stormed back to get to match point, but A&M saved the set and went on to force the fifth and decisive stanza.
Outstanding Offense: Gator setters Taylor Brauneis and Mackenzie Dagostino teamed up to set Florida to a .313 hitting percentage, the 16th time the Orange and Blue have hit above .300. The duo dished out 61 assists on the afternoon.
Chloe’s a “Mann”ster: Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann is hitting .474 for her career and is the Florida career record holder in the category. The reigning SEC Player of the Year is the NCAA active leader in hitting percentage and sits just above the NCAA record holder in career hitting percentage, Penn State's Arielle Wilson (.468). Mann needs 60 more attempts to be eligible for the NCAA record (10 attacks/reg. season match).
NCAA Numbers: Senior Chloe Mann leads the NCAA in hitting percentage (.514), while the Gators are second in the nation with a .330 offensive clip. Freshman right-side hitter Alex Holston is 13th in the country with a .428 hitting percentage and senior setter Taylor Brauneis is seventh in assists (11.59/set).
Mary’s Minute: “Terrific drama in a match that was so well-played. Texas A&M was fantastic from the energy of their fans to the effort by their players, they played so well. They could’ve won this match. We were so fortunate to have a couple key plays in the fifth set that we didn’t make in the fourth set helped us win this match.”
Mary by the Numbers:
At Florida: 708-82
Records: No. 5 Florida: 22-2 (11-1 SEC), Texas A&M: 11-10 (3-7 SEC)
All-Time Against Texas A&M: The Orange and Blue have never dropped a match to the Aggies and swept Texas A&M earlier this season. Last year at Reed Arena, the Gators pulled off a five-set thriller, coming back from down 0-2 to win the match 3-2 on ESPNU. Florida is now 9-0 all-time against Texas A&M and 7-0 under Florida head coach Mary Wise.
Up Next: The Gators enter their bye week and are off until they host South Carolina on Wednesday, November 13 on ESPNU. That match starts a stretch for Florida that sees the Gators playing five matches in eight days.
Vote for Chloe: Senior middle blocker Chloe Mann is one of ten NCAA® women’s volleyball student-athletes who excel both on and off the court to be selected as finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Fans can vote for Chloe here once a day, every day until December 9.
Follow the Gators: For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please visit GatorZone. For up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida Volleyball (@GatorZoneVB) and Coach Mary Wise (@GatorMary) on Twitter. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.
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