Volleyball breaks Florida's 46-match home winning streak
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Behind a balanced attack and tough defense, the No. 18 Texas Volleyball team snapped No. 5 Florida's 46-match home winning streak with a 3-1 victory (28-30, 30-17, 30-24, 30-15) at the O'Connell Center before 1,929 fans on Wednesday night. The victory was the Horns first victory over a top-10 opponent since November 29, 2003 when the team knocked off No. 5 Kansas State at Gregory Gym.
UT (12-0, 4-0 Big 12) remains undefeated on the season - one of six teams nationally - while Florida (10-2, 2-0 SEC) suffered its second loss of the season to a ranked team.
Three Horns recorded double-figure kills, led by senior All-American Mira Topic's (Kastela Kambelovac, Croatia) 23. Senior All-American Bethany Howden (Austin, Texas) added 15, while sophomore Dariam Acevedo (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) had a season-high 14 kills and a .591 hitting percentage.
Topic had her eighth double-double of the season, adding 15 digs, while freshman Sarah Holloway (Aurora, Colo.) added a career-high 13 digs. Freshman Alyson Jennings (Costa Mesa, Calif.) had 12 digs in the victory. UT also out-blocked Florida, 9.0 to 8.0, which is more impressive since UF held a 7.0 to 2.0 advantage in the category after the first game. Topic had seven blocks (all block assists) in the match.
UT's win marked the first time all season a Gator opponent had hit for better than .200, as the Horns connected for a .305 attack percentage. Texas limited Florida to a .147 mark for the match.
Topic also claimed outright the Texas career ace record on Wednesday evening with five aces, surpassing Lisa Denker's 166, to move her career total to 171.
"This is a very big win for us," Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott said. "We are trying to rebuild a program and this match is a great confidence builder for us. We're so young, and our players came out and just played hard and played their game. I'm impressed, especially since the O'Connell Center is such a hostile environment for visiting teams.
"I thought we won the pass-and-serve game tonight, and that was the key to the win. We tried to serve very tough to get them out of system, which would help us get a balanced attack. We passed well, too, and Dariam Acevedo had a huge match for us tonight. She was hitting rockets and everything was falling," Elliott concluded.
UT cruised ahead to a 15-10 lead in the first game, but then saw the Gators climb all the way back to tie the match at 22-22 before taking the lead at 23-22. The Horns rallied off three straight points - from freshman Jen Christian (Gilbert, Ariz.), Howden and Topic - to go back ahead by two at 25-23. However, Florida came back with its own 5-0 run on three straight kills and back-to-back blocks to go ahead for good at 28-25. The Horns staved off the Gators' first game point with a Topic kill, but UF took game one on its second try with a Horns attack error.
Florida out-blocked UT, 7.0 to 2.0, in the game and out-hit the Horns, .268 to .119.
The Horns reversed direction to start game two, pulling out to a 9-1 lead and maintained at least a seven point cushion for the rest of the game. Florida got no closer than 21-13 down the stretch before the Horns capped the game with a 9-4 run to extend a 13-point lead to take the game. UT hit .471 in the second game - which included 17 kills with only one error on 34 attacks - while limited UF to a .116 mark. Topic had six kills, while Acevedo added five.
UT built its lead to 2-1 in the match in the third game. After the two teams traded points early until 8-8, UT ran off four straight points to move ahead 12-8 and take the lead for good. Florida got no closer than two points - at 13-11 - and UT used a 4-0 run at 17-14 to push its advantage to 21-14. The Gators tried to mount a late-game rally, pulling out three-straight points while the Horns held game point, but a Brandy Magee (Mission Viejo, Calif.) kill on a UF overpass claimed the game for the Longhorns.
UT again out-hit Florida, this game by a .308 to .182 mark. Topic added six kills in the game, while Acevedo had five and Christian four. Topic also had three block assists in the game.
In the final game, Texas again jumped out early, pulling out to a 12-3 lead. Florida got no closer than nine points the rest of the way. Five Horns had at least two kills, as Topic added four, and Acevedo and Howden three each in the final game. Texas hit for .385 and held Florida below .000 with a -.036 mark as the Gators tried to make a comeback.
The Longhorns get back to their Big 12 slate on Saturday, Oct. 2, when the team hosts Oklahoma in a 6:30 p.m. match at Gregory Gym.