Wednesday, November 13, 2013

UF Volleyball: #5 UF vs South Carolina

It was Veteran's Night at the O-Dome on this chilly November night as the #5 Gators hosted the South Carolina Gamecocks in this late season SEC matchup. After honoring those who served, the Gators got to work and swept the Gamecocks in three sets. The first two sets were blowouts (25-15, 25-9), but the last one was tight as the Gators only won by a score of 25-22. This match served as a fine tuneup before the match of the year against undefeated Missouri on Friday.

Sophomore hitter Ziva Recek played like a girl possessed. I came to this conclusion after I saw her hit one of the hardest balls in my life for a kill. That was one of the 15 kills she had on the night. Not to mention that she also had three aces and nine digs. She accounted for 18 of the 57 Gator points. The next highest belong to fellow sophomore Simone Antwi with 10 points. This is the best I have seen Recek play in a long time.

Behind Recek's monster performance, defensive specialists Holly Pole and Nikki O'Rourke had eight digs a piece. Gabby Mallette also came ready to go on defense as the sophomore assisted with three blocks. Simone Antwi also decided to attend this block party with Mallette as she had a solo block and assisted with two. Offensively, Antwi contributed with eight kills.

It would be near impossible to finish this article without mentioning junior libero Taylor Unroe and senior middle blocker Chloe Mann. Unroe had seven digs and two aces, one being the game winner. Chloe Mann, the heart and soul of the team, helped light a fire beneath her teammates as all of her eight kills came at critical times in the match. As a senior, Mann is doing a great job of not pressing or having the mentality that she has to do everything herself. She will take over the game if she needs to, but it is evident having watched her for many games that she trusts her teammates.

So now the stage is set. This Friday at 7 p.m., the SEC race will be decided. I've been waiting for this game for a while now. #7 Missouri remains the Gators' only loss in SEC play. If the Gators are able to pull off this victory on Friday, they will be tied at the top of the SEC standings. Assuming both teams win out, the Gators will win a share of the SEC regular season title. The SEC aside, no feeling is better than being that team who hands an undefeated its first loss. From what I saw tonight, the Gators are going to be ready to go against Missouri. It will be a match for the ages.

*Stats accredited to

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