After a very entertaining football game, my spirits dropped during the volleyball game as #3 Texas came into the O-Dome and beat the #11 Gators 25-16, 25-17, and 25-16 in four sets. I was very excited for this game and I knew that Texas was very good, so I am not too surprised that the Gators could not pull this one out. This might be a tough loss to overcome mentally as Texas dominated every set they won, but it can be used as a building block for the Gators.
The only bright spot for the Gators in this match was that they won the second set 28-26. It was a highly contested set that gave me hope that the Gators could compete with Texas. At the end of the day however, the Longhorns' talent and experience proved too much for the Gators to overcome. I have a ton of respect for Texas as they are one of the premier powers in college volleyball after winning a National Championship in 2012 and appearing in the Final Four last year.
Even in a losing effort, I can always find Gator performances worth mentioning. Freshman Carli Snyder led the team in kills with 18 tonight. She accounted for 18.5 of the team's 64 points. Right behind her was redshirt junior Noami-Santos Lamb with 14 kills, sophomore Alex Holston with nine kills, and fellow freshman Rhamat Alhassan with seven kills. These are impressive numbers considering Texas had 16 total team blocks in the game! It felt like they were blocking almost every Gator attack.
Defensively, senior libero Holly Pole led the team with 11 digs. Junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino also played excellent and gave superb effort out on the court. She was diving all over the place trying to create second chance opportunities for her teammates! She had 9 digs along with 46 assists. In blocks the Gators lagged behind Texas with just 5 total blocks. Junior middle blocker Simone Antwi led the team with two assisted blocks tonight while freshman middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan led the team with two solo blocks.
The Gators are now on a two game losing streak and are 3-2 on the season. They will try to right the ship in the USC Classic on September 11-12 as they take on the #15 San Diego Toreros (5-1) and the #6 USC Trojans (6-0). Both these opponents are good, so we will find out how this battle-tested Gator squad responds to adversity early in the season. The Gators will take on San Diego first on September 11 at 8 p.m.
As for Texas, they might move up to #2 in the rankings following #2 Stanford's defeat of #1 Penn State today. They are now 4-0 and will head home to host the 26 West Longhorn Classic featuring Arizona, UCF, and Florida A&M. The first game is scheduled for September 12 at 7 p.m. against Arizona.
*All stats accredited to Gatorzone.com
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