I was conflicted about writing this because I have exams I should be studying for but I figured the heck with it. The #8 Florida Gators volleyball squad is going to the Elite Eight for the seventh time in school history! They needed five sets, but the Gators were able to pull off a 16-14 victory in the final set to defeat the #9 Illinois Fighting Illini tonight in the Iowa Regional Semifinal.
Sophomore Alex Holston had a double double with a team-high 18 kills and 10 digs. In addition to her 10 digs, she assisted on six blocks. Up next with 15 kills was true freshman Rhamat Alhassan. She put on a defensive clinic tonight with nine assisted blocks. Rounding out the double digit scorers after Alhassan was sophomore Gabby Mallette. She had 10 kills and assisted on three blocks.
On the defensive end, the Gators had four players with double digit digs. Excluding Holston, all of these players were seniors. Together, Holly Pole (19), Maddie Monserez (16), and Mackenzie Monserez (10), all combined for 45 digs. Dagostino also had 51 assists and assisted on four blocks. One final Gator I'll mention is Shainah Joseph, who assisted on six blocks and had seven kills.
Now one step closer to their first ever National Championship, the Florida Gators (28-3) will face their greatest challenge yet in the #1 overall seeded Stanford Cardinal (32-1). What a coincidence, the Florida soccer team met Stanford with a Final Four spot on the line and now the volleyball team will do the same. I am hoping that this time the result will be different.
The game is set for 9 p.m. on ESPNU. My superstition and exam studying will most likely prevent me from watching it, but I can promise you I will be checking the scores every now and then. The Gators know what they have to do to beat a team of such an elite caliber, now it's time to see if they can put that knowledge into action.
*All stats accredited to NCAA.com