Well, one of this weekend’s Bulldog rivalries went Florida’s way. After the Gators dropped last week’s home match against Missouri, the team traveled to Starkville, beating Mississippi State in three sets. This now puts Florida at 10-1 in the SEC and is the team’s sixth conference sweep and its second over the Bulldogs this season.
The Gators did not grasp the entire set, starting the match down 4-1. Two things Coach Mary Wise has continuously praised her team for this season are resilience and serving. Both came out in full force when Holly Carlton staged a comeback with a seven-point service run.
The two teams were tied 10-10, but Florida then went on an 11-4 run to make the score 21-14. Two Gator kills and two Bulldog errors ended the set.
Florida hit a .281 clip, while holding Miss State to .032, racking up 14 kills in the process. Paige Hammons led the way with four, but Taelor Kellum and Carlton each pitched in three.
Florida was able to battle out of an 8-8 deadlock… this time, using an 8-2 run. After that, the Gators maintained at least a three-point lead through the rest of the frame. Mia Sokolowski threw down a block, putting the team up 2-0.
Florida stayed pretty par for the course, hitting .216 this time around, but the Gators forced the Bulldogs into 14 errors. Carlton and Kellum made three kills apiece.
Mississippi State did not want to suffer its second Florida sweep of the season, so the team did come out a little harder. The Gators were up just 15-12 heading into the media timeout. The Bulldogs clawed their way up to just a one-point margin late in the game.
Two kills from Carlton and Hammons brought the score to 22-19, with a Hammons Hammer closing out the entire match.
Gators hit .263 with a stellar 16 kills. Hammons created seven opportunities for herself, while Carlton came up with five.
Hammons and Carlton were on a kill-streak, combining for 22 on the afternoon. Each player ended up with a double-double. Hammons had her fourth and Carlton had her 12th.
Marlie Monserez had herself a day breaking two career records. Her career-high blocks are now up to three, while her kills are sitting at four.
As a team, the Gators held the Bulldogs to a hitting percentage of less than .100. This is the seventh time that has happened this season. Florida kept its forever winning streak over Mississippi State, moving to 51-0 all-time.
The Gators have a big test coming up when they head to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Florida is ranked 13th and Kentucky is ranked 14th, so expect a five-setter here.
The last time these two teams met was in Lexington, where the Gators got the sweep.