LOS ANGELES -- No. 10 Florida made it two consecutive sweeps against ranked opponents at the USC Classic in Los Angeles, and Friday’s 25-23, 25-23, 25-22 blanking of the No. 6 USC Trojans at the Galen Center was particularly special as Florida head coach Mary Wise became the only active female Division I head coach to eclipse 800 career victories.
Wise, the nation’s winningest coach since taking over at the helm of the University of Florida volleyball program in 1991, is the third-winningest active Division I coach in the country (.843 win percentage) in her 28th season as a head coach.
After a tightly contested first-set win that featured nine ties and two lead changes, the Gators (5-2) worked their way back from a 21-18 deficit in the second frame, outscoring the Trojans 7-2 down the final stretch for a 25-23 set-two victory to enter the break ahead 2-0. The Gators went to middles Rhamat Alhassan and Simone Antwi four times, while freshman outside hitter Carli Snyder and sophomore right side Alex Holstoneach struck to complement a Nikki O’Rourke service ace.
In the third set, which included 13 ties and six lead changes, UF put on a gutsy performance after the Gators called time out when trailing, 22-20. Florida scored the next five points thanks to two Antwi slams, Snyder and Holston kills, while capitalizing on a USC attack error.
While Alhassan (11), Antwi (12) and Holston (13) posted double-digit kill and point outputs with the help of junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino’s 40 assists, Florida’s defense was on point against the Trojans with 10 blocks to USC’s four, including seven from Alhassan, while four Gators had seven or more digs in a total team effort paced by senior Holly Pole’s 16. UF had just one reception error against a team that boasts the nation’s leading server in Samantha Bricio, who averaged 0.91 aces per set entering the tournament.
Alhassan and Holston were named to the USC Classic All-Tournament Team following a stellar two days of play at the Galen Center.