The Florida volleyball team is now in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament. After topping Florida State and Florida Gulf Coast, the Gators will take on their toughest test yet in Brigham Young University.
Florida failed to clinch a national seed after going 24-6 (15-3 SEC) in the regular season. The Cougars are the number four seed after going 27-1 in the regular season and shutting out most of their opponents.
However, the Tournament Gators are a force to be reckoned with. The squad is posting a hit clip of .309 and is 6-0 in postseason sets, sweeping both the Seminoles and the Eagles. Defensively, Florida is holding opponents to a .137 hitting percentage.
Paige Hammons is pacing the offense right now, averaging 5 kills per set off of a .369 clip.
BYU dropped just one match this season, when the team lost 0-3 to Loyola Marymount. Other than that, the Cougars posted 24 shutouts in a 27 win season. Coach Heather Olmstead is in her fourth season at BYU, where she is 114-12.
The Cougars have the Region Freshman of the Year in Heather Gneiting (147 blocks, 202 kills, .403 HPCT) and the Region Player of the Year in Roni Jones-Perry (185 digs, 456 kills, .348 HPCT). Olmstead was named Region Coach of the Year.
Florida and BYU are not familiar opponents, with the last match between these two teams dating back to 2003. However, Mary Wise is 5-0 against the Cougars. Overall, the Gators are 16-8 in Sweet Sixteen matches.
Friday’s match is set for 6:30 PM and will be streaming on ESPN3. Follow @GatorsVB on Twitter for more updates.