FINAL: FLORIDA 3, STANFORD 2
KANSAS CITY, MO- The Florida Gators are going to the National Championship match after dropping Stanford 3-2 Thursday night/Friday morning. For Florida this is the program’s second berth to the title match, losing their first appearance to USC in 2003.
Florida took the first two sets from the Cardinal, but Stanford’s resilience forced a fifth set. The Gators controlled the action for much of the final set to propel themselves to new heights.
Florida’s All-American senior Rhamat Alhassan finished with a team high 17 kills and hit at a .517 clip. Fellow upperclassmen Carli Snyder registered 16 kills, 9 digs, and 3 services aces. Libero Caroline Knop (despite a cast on her hand) led the back row with 20 digs including an incredible effort in the fifth set.
The first set saw Florida hit .250 compared to .205 for Stanford. Florida landed 15 kills while committing five errors. Stanford had 15 kills and 6 errors in 44 attack attempts in the opening set.
Both teams hitting efficiency increased in the second set. Florida’s rate was a robust .312, finishing with 14 kills and 4 errors for the game. Stanford improved to a .273 clip while committing five errots to go along with 14 kills.
Sets three and four saw a complete role reversal as Florida hit only .179 after the intermission, and only .111 in the fourth set. The Cardinal hit .452 and .345 in their dominating victories in the middle sets.
Set five saw Florida race to a 9-4 lead. The Gators defense led the way as they forced Stanford to a negative hitting clip (-.40).
Florida will face Nebraska in Kansas City in front of a crowd that will be dominated by red. The Gators beat the Huskers 3-2 in Gainesville back in August.
Florida’s senior class has led this team through the Final Four, and has the opportunity to rewrite Florida’s history books as the first National Championship team. Alhassan, Snyder, Knop, and Shainah Joseph all have cemented their legacy at UF. On Saturday they have a chance to do something no one else has done at Florida. Head coach Mary Wise also has the opportunity to become the first woman to coach a championship team.
Florida vs Nebraska
9:00 PM / ESPN2
Kansas City, MO
*it’s all on the line