TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 3 Florida volleyball team posted its 19th consecutive win in the all-time series with No. 13 Florida State on Wednesday evening, defeating the intra-state rival Seminoles in a hard-fought 3-0 (25-23, 31-29, 25-21) win in front of a record crowd of 1,322 fans at Tully Gymnasium.
The Gators (9-1) improve to 33-16 all-time vs. the Seminoles (9-2), including a 26-2 mark under the direction of head coach Mary Wise. Florida posted its seventh victory this season against a team ranked in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-25 Poll, improving to 7-1 this season against ranked foes.
The Gators hit .322 as a team while the Orange Blue held the Seminoles to .168 hitting percentage on the evening. Florida out-blocked Florida State 12-9.
“This was as gutsy of a performance as we’ve had during our time here at Florida,” Wise said. “Playing in this environment with as well as FSU played, with as great of a crowd as they had tonight, especially in that battle in set two, this group just refuses to back down.”
Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) charted her 19th career triple-double and her fourth of the season with a match-high 11 kills, a match-high 20 assists and 11 digs for 12.5 points. Murphy, the reigning Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week, notched her second consecutive triple-double after charting one on Sunday at Tennessee.
Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) charted 11 digs, while also adding nine kills. Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) followed with eight kills on .636 hitting with five blocks and four digs, while senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) posted seven kills with four blocks.
Sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) registered a career-high six blocks to go with eight kills on 18 swings with no errors for a .444 hitting efficiency. Four Gators charted four or more blocks as junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added six blocks to go with six kills on .667 hitting.
Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) directed the Gators’ back-row effort with 14 digs to complement two service aces, while freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) added 17 assists.
The Sunshine State foes traded points back and forth in the first set until 8-7 when Florida State took the lead on a Sareea Freeman block.
The Seminoles continued a 4-1 run before the Gators began to settle in and pulled within one with an Erin Fleming ace. However, Florida State went back on the offensive and went on another run, going up 14-11 with a Visnja Djurdjevic kill. A block by Bledsoe and Rivers brought the Gators back within one, 14-13.
A Seminole hitting error tied the game up at 14, causing Florida State to call a timeout. A block by Bledsoe and Wiggs out of the timeout gave the Gators their first lead of the match at 15-14.
Another Rivers-Bledsoe block and a Seminole hitting error continued the Gators’ 6-0 run and forced another Florida State timeout. A Jaeckel kill out of the timeout gave the Gators their largest lead of the match at 18-14. The Gators kept rolling to a 20-16 lead on a block by Anderson and Wiggs.
The teams once again traded points after 20, but Florida kept its one-point lead as the teams rallied back and forth until the Seminoles tied things up at 23 with a Florida error. The Gators got to set point on a Florida State hitting error and a Jaeckel kill from the back row gave the Gators set one, 25-23.
A Jaeckel solo block started things off for the Gators in set two. The teams once again traded points to continue the setBledsoe-Wiggs block, until Florida State went on a 5-0 run sparked by a Stephanie Neville kill. A sprawling dig by Fleming kept a long rally alive and the Gators won the point off a Jaeckel kill. The Seminoles extended their lead to six with a Djurdjevic kill off the block. A Djurdjevic-Lauren Young block gave the Seminoles their largest lead of the match at 17-10.
The Gators began to rally of a Murphy kill and service ace, forcing a Florida State timeout. Out of the timeout, a Bledsoe-Wiggs stuff block continued the Gators 3-0 run. A Murphy kill and a Jaeckel service ace pulled the Gators to within three, 18-15.
The teams traded points once again before the Gators began to inch back with a Rivers kill and an Anderson-Murphy block. A Florida State hitting error knotted the score at 21-all. A Murphy put-down gave the Gators their first lead of the set since 6-5. A Florida service error tied things up at 22 before a Rivers kill gave the lead once again to the Gators. A Florida ball handling error tied things up at 23.
A Jaeckel kill gave the Gators set point at 24, but the Seminoles answered back to tie things up at 24. A Murphy tip gave the Gators set point, 25-24, but Florida State tied things up with a Djurdjevic kill.
Jaeckel once again stepped up for the Gators with a kill, but the Seminoles had an answer with a Djurdjevic kill to tie things up. Bledsoe kill gave the Gators their third set point. Wiggs kill off high hands gave the Gators another set point, 30-29. Rivers ended the set on a kill in the middle of the defense, giving the Gators set two, 31-29.
The third set started off well for the Gators as Rivers slammed a kill from the right side before serving the Gators to a 3-0 lead. Florida State answered back with a 3-0 run of their own, tying things up at 6-6.
The Gators began a 4-0 tear that was highlighted by a Rivers solo block. An Anderson-Rivers block put the Gators up by five, 11-6, all behind the serving of Bledsoe.
Florida State came back behind kills from Neville and Fatma Yildrim. Florida State tied things up at 16 with a Florida error and took their first lead of the third set with a Young-Rachael Morgan block to lead 17-16. A Murphy kill ended Florida State’s run and tied things up at 17.
A Djurdjevic error gave the Gators back the lead, 18-17. The Gators spread their lead to two with a quick kill by Bledsoe, forcing a Florida State timeout. Florida State regained their momentum out of the timeout, tying the set up at 21 behind back-to-back service aces by Djurdjevic.
A Wiggs kill out of a timeout gave the lead back to Florida, 22-21. Anderson and Wiggs teamed up for a block on a Jekaterina Stepanova swing to give the Gators a two-point lead, 23-21. Rivers came up big for the Gators with a kill in the middle of the Florida State defense to give Florida match point, 24-21. A Bledsoe ace sealed the match for the Gators, 25-21.
Florida returns to action on Sunday when it plays host to Ole Miss. Opening serve in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on GatorVision Online and WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett and Missy Whittemore.