Gainesville, FL - The Southeastern Conference’s divisional leaders will square off on Friday night in Oxford, Miss., when No. 1 Florida takes on Ole Miss. Opening serve in the Gillom Sports Center is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Florida (19-1, 12-0 SEC), which is riding a 14-match winning streak, is
looking to post its 20th consecutive 20-win season on Friday evening.
The Gators lead the overall SEC race by two matches with a 12-0
conference record. Ole Miss and LSU follow with 10-2 league records,
while Tennessee is fourth with an 8-4 conference mark.
“Ole Miss is a team that’s undefeated at home and in a good
position to win the SEC West,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said.
“This is the best Ole Miss team we’ve ever played, and facing
them at home in a tough environment on Friday night will really be a
challenge. If we serve and block well, then we have a chance to win on
The Gators are coming off a 3-0 win against South Carolina in a
primetime Wednesday night showdown on ESPNU. Senior outside hitter
Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) led the way for the Gators, recording
a match-high-tying 11 kills on 21 swings with no errors for a .524
hitting efficiency to complement a career-high-tying four service aces
and five digs for 15.0 total points. The Gators hit .323 for the match,
marking their third consecutive match hitting better than .300 as a
team, and limited the Gamecocks to just an .057 hitting efficiency.
As a team, Florida ranks in the NCAA’s top 25 in three statistical
categories. The Gators are 16th nationally with a .280 hitting
efficiency, rank 21st in service aces with 1.77 per set and 25th in
blocks per set with 2.63. Florida leads the SEC in both blocks per set
and service aces per set and is the only team in the SEC to have three
players rank in the league’s top-10 individually in service aces.
The Gators are led offensively by junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy
(Wilmington, Ill.), who is the only player in the SEC (all matches
combined) to rank among the league’s top-10 individually in service
aces per set, hitting percentage and kills per set. Murphy averages a
squad-best 3.23 kills per set, which ranks 10th in the SEC, on a .376
hitting percentage, which ranks fourth in the conference. Murphy is the
SEC’s leader in service aces with 0.38 per set. She also averages 5.44
assists per set, 2.15 digs per set and 0.70 blocks per set.
Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) and Rivers follow with 2.44 and 2.29 kills per set, respectively. Rivers is second on the team with 2.36 digs per set and ranks second in the SEC with 0.36service aces per set.
Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) heads Florida’s back-row
effort, ranking eighth in the SEC with 3.62 digs per set, while freshman
setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) averages a squad-best 5.52 assists
The Gators have three players averaging 0.90 blocks per set or better,
led by junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.)
who ranks third in the SEC with 1.16 blocks per set. Senior middle
blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) follow with 1.00 blocks per
set, which ranks ninth in the SEC, while sophomore right-side Tangerine
Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) adds 0.90 blocks per set.
Florida and Ole Miss meet for the 41st time in the history of the two
programs with the Gators holding a 37-3 lead in the all-time series. UF
is 31-0 all-time vs. the Rebels under the direction of Wise, as Ole Miss
is one of four teams that she has never lost to during her tenure at
Florida. The Gators are 16-3 all-time against Ole Miss when the match is
played in Oxford, Miss. Twenty-one of the last 23 meetings between the
two teams have been 3-0 Florida sweeps.
Ole Miss enters Friday’s match with a 16-5 overall record and a 10-2
mark in SEC play. The Rebels, who have won seven consecutive matches,
are coming off a pair of wins against Mississippi State and Alabama on
the road last weekend. Three of Ole Miss’ five losses this season have
come to ranked opponents, including a 3-0 win by the Gators on Sept. 26,
but the Rebels have posted quality wins, including a 3-0 sweep of No. 12
LSU on Oct. 15 in Oxford.
Ole Miss is led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Whitney Craven,
who averages a squad-best 3.17 kills per set and is second on the team
with 2.63 digs per set. Senior middle blocker Regina Thomas and
sophomore right-side Allegra Wells follow with 2.50 and 2.49 kills per
Junior libero Morgan Springer ranks second in the SEC with 4.81 digs
per set, as the Rebels lead the league with 16.24 digs per set (all
matches combined). Thomas and Miranda Kitts, rank second and eighth,
respectively, in the SEC in blocks per set with 1.20 and 1.05 per set,
making Ole Miss and Florida the only two teams to have two players
apiece in the league’s top-10 individually in blocking.
Sophomore setter Amanda Philpot is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of
the Week after registering her first career triple-double against
Alabama last Sunday. She ranks sixth on her team with 7.37 assists per