Florida volleyball sweeps Miss. State, forces tie for first in SEC

Aaron Albright / Alligator Staff UF right-side hitter Alex Holston (3) celebrates during Florida’s 3-0 win against St. John’s on Sept. 17, 2015, in the O’Connell Center. She hadn’t attempted a swing the entire match.

But with Florida volleyball leading Mississippi State 24-14 in the third set on Sunday, UF middle blocker Darrielle King took a hard swipe at a pass from setter Allie Monserez. The 6-foot-3 freshman connected, slamming the ball down on the Bulldogs’ side of the court, recording her first kill of the match to give the Gators the win.

Behind a fast-paced attack that saw Florida hit .554, the No. 6 Gators (22-2, 12-1 Southeastern Conference) swept Mississippi State (12-15, 4-9 SEC) for their 10th-straight victory in conference play.

Senior hitter Alex Holston and junior middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan led UF with efficient hitting. Holston notched 13 kills on 21 attempts, and Alhassan, who chipped in two digs and five total blocks, registered 13 kills on only 15 attempts.

“Some of her swings out of the back row are what we call ‘nasty,’” UF coach Mary Wise said of Holston. “Her swings are just angles that are crazy.”

The Gators had a difficult time shaking off MSU early in the match despite Holston’s six kills in the opening set. But finally, after a block by Alhassan gave Florida a set-point opportunity, the Gators took the first set 25-23 after an error by MSU hitter Evie Grace Singleton.

The Bulldogs cut Florida’s lead to 12-10 in the second set after a service error by hitter Carli Snyder. However, behind a .617 hitting percentage in the first two sets, UF powered its way to a 25-18 victory in the frame.

The Gators routed the Bulldogs in the third set due to the hard serving of freshman Chanelle Hargreaves. With Florida leading 14-10, the defensive specialist led a 6-0 run to put the game out of reach. The Gators won the set 25-14 for their sixth-straight sweep.

“Our serving was not the strength today, except for Chanelle Hargreaves,” Wise said. “She got on a run.”

On the whole, Florida was consistent. The Gators held MSU to a .226 hitting percentage, recorded 50 digs to the Bulldogs’ 26 and stuffed nine shots.

With the win, the Gators tied Missouri (21-4, 12-1 SEC) for the lead in the conference standings.

“It’s one of our best performances here in Starkville on a Sunday afternoon in some time,” Wise said. “Really proud of this group.”

A radio broadcast contributed to this report. Contact Ray Boone at rboone@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @rboone1994 .