|Florida 3, Tulsa 0
|Kentucky 3, East Tennessee State 0
|Wichita State 3, Arkansas 2
|Texas 3, Texas A&M 1
No. 14 Seed Florida Volleyball Sweeps Tulsa in NCAA First Round
Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 14 seed Florida volleyball team (26-4) opened the NCAA First Round with a 3-0 sweep (25-9, 25-21, 25-21) of Tulsa (26-10) on Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. With the win, the Gators face the winner of the first match of the Gainesville Sub-Regional, College of Charleston (27-7), who earned a victory with a 3-2 thriller over Miami (FL).
Senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) and junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) were stellar on the night, sparking the Gators’ offense with .667 (8-0-12) and .500 (10-2-16) hitting efficiencies, respectively. Mann stuffed six blocks on the evening to lead all players on the court and out-block the Golden Hurricane as a team.
“I’ve always said our success is from great passing and great setting,” Wiggs said. “Taylor Brauneis is a setter we’re so blessed to have on our team. She does such a great job distributing the ball and making sure each person gets the best looks possible. Our passers did a great job today as well.”
“In set one, we kind of got out of the gate pretty fast. We knew the (first set) numbers of Tyler Henderson were not indicative of her talent,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We blocked well and had every break go our way during set one. In sets two and three, we saw the Tulsa team that we watched on video, a Tulsa team that has been so good for the past three NCAA tournaments. With Tyler’s heavy arm and contact point, we were impressed with how she responded after the first set.”
Henderson, the NCAA’s all-time leader in kills, was held kill-less in the first frame, hitting -.571 with four errors. She quickly turned it around, posting 17 kills on a .257 hitting percentage with eight errors. No other TU hitter tallied more than six kills.
Sophomore defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) led the way defensively for the Orange and Blue with a match-high 16 digs on the night, turning in one of the best matches of her career both defensively and on serve receive.
“On our side, one of the biggest difference makers was the play of Maddy,” Wise said. “She led us in digs and was all over the court. She provided a lot of inspiration to our entire team. She does it every day in practice, but to do it in the NCAA Tournament is pretty cool to see.”
Two Gators were on the verge of double-doubles, as freshman outside hitter Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) tallied 13 kills and nine digs. Junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 38 assists and registered eight digs against TU, turning in two aces on the evening. Sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) scooped 13 digs on the night
The Gators jumped out to an early 9-1 lead in the opening frame, using three straight Tulsa attacking errors and a back-to-back Recek kills to build a significant advantage. Florida won the first long rally of the match, utilizing Monserez’s speed and tenacity to spark the Gators to a 12-6 lead. Back-to-back Sundai Weston (Naples, Fla.) aces forced a Tulsa timeout at 16-8, and back-to-back Gator blocks sparked a 7-1 rally, ending the set on a roof by Mann and Mallette, 25-9. Florida put up 5.0 team blocks in the opening stanza, holding the Golden Hurricane to a -.250 offensive clip.
In the second stanza, a smart tip by Wiggs and two slams by Mann put Florida ahead, 3-1. A Brauneis ace trickled over the tape to get the Gators to the double-digit mark, 10-8. A well-placed tip by Smith gave the Gators a four-point lead, 17-13, and a Brauneis-Smith stuff block forced a Tulsa timeout as Florida went up, 18-13. A Mallette crosscourt slam put the Gators at the double-decade mark, 20-14. The Golden Hurricane inched within four, 23-19, but Recek nailed one off the block to set up set point for Florida, 24-19. A Wiggs smash out of the middle tilted the second stanza in the Gators’ favor, 25-21.
The Gators started the third frame off strong with a Brauneis-Mann roof, aided by the stellar defensive efforts of Monserez. A Smith slam off the slide gave the Gators a two-point advantage, 7-5, and an Unroe ace kept the lead at two, 13-11. A Brauneis dumped kill put Florida up by four, 16-12, for its largest lead of the set. A Mallette mash through the seam of the TU block kept the four-point advantage, 18-14, but TU cut the Florida lead to one with a quick 3-0 run, forcing a Florida timeout at 18-17. Mann slammed a quick set from Brauneis out of the middle to curtail the TU streak, 19-17, and a Brauneis ace got the Gators to the double-decade mark at 20-17. Recek slammed one to end a long rally and get the Gators to match point, 24-20, forcing a TU timeout. Recek put the match away with a hard crosscourt slam, 25-21.
NCAA Gainesville Sub-Regional tickets are now on sale. General admission all-session passes are available for $10 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Youth tickets are available for $4. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at (800) 34-GATOR, ext. 6800 or online at GatorZone.com/tickets. Only all-session passes will be available at that time. Single-session tickets will be available only on the day of the event.
Wildcats Roll to 3-0 Sweep of ETSU in NCAA Tourney Opener
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The 16th-seeded Kentucky volleyball team used a potent offensive attack en route to a 3-0 (25-9, 25-17, 25-15) sweep of East Tennessee State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in front of 1,917 fans in Memorial Coliseum on Friday. Senior Ashley Frazier led the way with a match-high 12 kills on a blistering .500 hitting clip as UK struck for 39 kills on .361 hitting in the dominating victory.
With the win the Wildcats have advanced to the second round to take on Ohio State at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. The Buckeyes secured a second round spot following a 3-0 win over Notre Dame.
“ETSU has a couple of really nice athletes, really nice attackers,” UK coach Craig Skinner said. “We were able to neutralize them by serving tough and getting them out of system. I think that set the tone for the match.
“Knowing what they’re capable of, they came out in set two and did some really nice things. I was proud of the way we responded when they made a run on us. That’s important during the Tournament that you respond, and do things in retaliation to what the opponent’s going to do. Our serving, our blocking defense and digging were the difference in the match. That needs to be a mainstay for tomorrow night,” Skinner said.
The Wildcats improve to 21-10 overall following the victory, their fourth time advancing to at least the second round under Skinner. It’s also the third time in the last four seasons UK has advanced beyond the opening round. ETSU finishes its season with an impressive 23-13 overall record.
Frazier paced the dynamic attack that was spearheaded by senior setter Christine Hartmann who dished out 31 assists on the night. Hartmann added a pair of kills, three digs and two blocks to her line as well.
Freshman Kayla Tronick connected for seven kills on a team-high .545 hitting clip. Junior Whitney Billings tallied eight kills on .400 hitting and scooped up nine digs on the night. Sophomore Lauren O’Conner laid down four kills and junior Alexandra Morgan had a trio.
Morgan led the effort at the net with a match-high four blocks. She also notched a pair of aces on the night. Senior libero Stephanie Klefot picked up a match-best 10 digs with junior Jessi Greenberg logging nine and sophomore Jackie Napper providing eight to the winning cause.
Freshmen Morgan Bergren (one kill, two assists), Sara Schwarzwalder (one kill, one dig) and Shelby Workman (one kill, one block) all added to UK’s win in their first career postseason action.
Kentucky began the night with a 25-9 opening set victory. UK charted 10 kills on .409 hitting and frustrated the Bucs into seven kills on a .032 percentage. Frazier led the way with four kills.
ETSU scored the match’s opening two points before the Wildcats answered with a 7-0 run paced by the serving from the right hand of Billings. Kentucky then utilized a 15-3 run to take a commanding 21-5 advantage. The opening stanza ended on a Buccaneer service error to give the home team a 1-0 advantage in the match.
The Wildcats then secured a 2-0 lead into the break following a 25-17 second set win. Frazier and O’Conner both struck for four kills in the stanza as UK smashed 16 in the set on a .394 clip. ETSU posted nine kills using a .059 percentage.
O’Conner struck first with a kill, but ETSU fired back and the teams exchanged points back and forth with the visitors taking a 13-8 lead in the middle portion of frame forcing UK into a timeout. Consecutive kills from O’Conner and Hartmann gave the Wildcats back the lead at 15-14 and the Blue and White would not look back. Kentucky closed out the set on a 10-3 run to earn the victory. Billings and Tronick traded kills to close out the frame as UK scored the final four points.
The final set saw the Wildcats secure the sweep behind a 25-15 win. UK totaled 13 kills on a .286 clip and turned back four opponent attacks. Frazier again led the attack with four kills in the frame. ETSU had its best output of the night with 10 kills.
Kentucky’s defense forced the Bucs into an erroneous attack to begin the set, but ETSU responded with consecutive points. UK took the lead for the final time on another Buccaneer hitting error at 3-2. Kentucky capitalized on a 15-5 run to shake loose for the win. Tronick capped the match with her seventh kill of the night to bring the raucous crowd to its feet.
Acosta with career-high 20 in first-round NCAA loss
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The University of Arkansas volleyball team closed out its season Friday evening with a five-set loss (16-25, 25-27, 25-17, 25-23, 15-10) to Wichita State in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Division I Championship. Roslandy Acosta led a trio of Razorbacks in double digits with a career-high 20 kills, and was joined by Jasmine Norton with 16 kills and Liz Fortado with 10. Arkansas wrapped its 2012 campaign with a 22-10 overall record and the program’s 10th NCAA appearance.
Acosta completed her seventh double-double of the season with 12 digs to go along with her offensive output. Along with her 16 kills, Norton added 13 digs for her team-leading 16th double-double this season. She also tallied five total blocks. Norton closes out her Razorback career with 1,799 kills, the eighth-highest total in Southeastern Conference history. From the setter position, Raymariely Santos dished out 47 assists and had 14 digs for her 15th double-double performance. Junior libero Emily Helm led all players with 21 digs.
“First, I want to congratulate Wichita State on a great season and a great match tonight,” head coach Robert Pulliza said. “We knew we would have our hands full with them and we just saw the reason why. That said, I’m very proud of our team. I’m very proud of our season. I’ve had a great journey that I know our players and staff will always remember. We just had a tough one tonight that didn’t come our way.”
In the fifth and decisive set, Arkansas won three of the first four points but the two teams continued its back-and-forth play that marked a majority of Friday’s match. Fortado found the floor with her final kill of the night to even the score at 10-10, the ninth tie of game five. However, Wichita State reeled off the final five points of the set to complete the comeback victory.
With the score tied early in the first set, the Razorbacks rattled off seven points in a row to double up Wichita State on the scoreboard, 14-7. Later in the set, Arkansas used a run of four points and after back-to-back Shocker errors, the lead was 20-11. Amanda Anderson found the floor to give Arkansas set point and its first double-digit lead of the match, 24-14. Arkansas clinched the opener with a Shocker attack error.
In the opening set, the Razorbacks’ offense was paced by 12 kills from its outside hitter. Acosta tallied seven kills in the first set, while Norton found the floor five times. Defensively, Arkansas held the Shockers to a -.032 hitting percentage in set one.
Wichita State led early in the second set, taking a 7-4 lead after a kill from Sam Sanders. Like they did in the first, the Razorbacks used a 7-0 charge to go ahead with a 13-8 lead. Arkansas maintained a four or five point lead until a pair of attack errors brought the Shockers to within two at 21-19. Acosta registered a kill to give her team its first of three set points, 24-23. After a kill from Fortado, fellow freshman Monica Bollinger stepped to the service line and responded with an ace that clipped the top of the net and fell to the floor to secure a 2-0 match lead.
Neither team was able to build more than a two-point lead early in the third set and the Shockers led, 15-13, at the media timeout. However, Wichita State began to build momentum and took a 19-15 lead to force a timeout from Pulliza. Arkansas won the next two points to put to within two but the Shockers closed out the set on a 6-0 run to take the set, 25-17, and force a fourth game.
Wichita State jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the fourth set behind a handful of kills out of middle from Ashley Andrade. The Razorbacks started to chip away and cut their deficit to one with run at the service line by Ashley Vazquez. Fortado went up for a solo block to pull Arkansas even, 17-all. The Razorbacks erased a late two-point deficit and took a 23-22 advantage on a WSU attack error. Wichita State replied with a three-point push to close out the game and force a fifth set.
The Shockers were led by a match-high 23 kills from Ashley Andrade who also had a .564 hitting percentage and five total blocks from her middle blocker position. Chelsey Feekin directed the Wichita State attack with 54 assists and added 16 digs.
Aggies Fall To No. 3 Texas, 3-1
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas A&M pushed the nation's No. 3 team to four sets with a gritty effort, but the Aggies fell to Texas, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, Friday night before a rowdy crowd of 3,419 at Gregory Gym in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Aggies, who entered the match riding a season-high 10-match win streak, finish the season 25-6. Texas improves to 25-4 and advances to the regional semifinal next weekend in Austin.
Texas took control of the opening set as Bailey Webster had four kills and a block during an 8-0 run that put the Longhorns up, 19-10. A&M later went on a 4-1 run that put the Aggies within 23-16, but a service error and an attack error closed out the 25-16 win for the Longhorns, who outhit A&M .353 to .167.
It was the Aggies who controlled the second set. A&M, held without an ace in the first set, had four aces in the second, including three early in the frame to spark a 6-1 lead and force a Texas timeout. The Aggies, who outhit the Horns, .387 to .320, later used a 3-0 run, getting a tip kill by Alisia Kastmo, a kill by Austin native Sierra Patrick and a block by Patrick and Stephanie Minnerly to build their largest lead at 17-9. Texas countered with a 3-0 run, but could get no closer. A Texas service error put A&M ahead, 23-18, and the teams exchanged points for the remainder of the frame with Patrick putting down her fourth kill of the set to close out the 25-19 victory and tie the match at 1-1.
There were five lead changes and nine ties in the third set before Texas began to pull away. A kill by Patrick tied the score at 14-14 before Texas began scoring two points to every one point by the Aggies. The Longhorns, who outhit A&M, .524 to .250 in the set, took a 24-18 lead following consecutive errors by the Aggies. Kastmo fought off one set point with a tip kill, but Sha’Dare McNeal put down a kill to give the Longhorns the win and a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was tied at 7-7 when a kill by Texas’ Khat Bell and three consecutive errors by the Aggies put the Longhorns up, 11-7. Texas used a 3-0 run to widen the gap to 14-8. A&M cut the margin to four points four times, the last coming at 21-17 as Texas hit into the net. Back-to-back kills by Molly McCage put Texas up, 23-17, but McCage was whistled for a ball handling error on the next play to put A&M within 23-18. McCage then put down her third kill of the frame to put Texas at match point, and setter Hannah Allison registered her only kill of the night to clinch the victory and send the Longhorns to the next round.
Tori Mellinger led the Aggies with 13 kills while hitting .393, and Kastmo finished with 11 kills, marking the ninth consecutive match she has reached double figures in kills. Heather Reynolds led A&M in digs with nine, and Allie Sawatzky finished with 39 assists.
A&M had five aces, including two apiece by Mellinger and Sawatzky, but the Aggies committed 12 service errors, one shy of the team season high.
Webster led Texas with 17 kills and hit .556 as the Longhorns outhit A&M, .389 to .248 for the match. Texas also led in blocks, 8-4.
It marked the final collegiate match for five Aggie seniors – Kastmo, Mellinger, Lindsey Miller, Stephanie Minnerly and Megan Pendergast.