Florida had an excellent weekend on the West Coast where it competed in the USC Classic along with San Diego, Texas A&M, and, of course, host USC. The No. 10-ranked Gators collected big wins over No. 6 USC and No. 13 San Diego. The Trojans, however, added a five-set loss to Texas A&M to their blanking by Florida.
Florida freshman middle hitter Rhamat Alhassan stole the show, using her 38-inch vertical to hit .800 for the second time this year against San Diego, with a career-high 16 kills and no errors. In the same match, sophomore right side Alex Holston scored a career-high .538 hitting percentage with no errors. The team as a hole collected only six errors in the match, hitting .449 off of junior setter Mackenzie Dagostino’s sets.
Against USC, each set was close, although Florida managed to pull off the sweep. The Gators were behind 18-21 in the second and 20-22 in the third before they roared back to win both sets and the match. Florida outpaced USC defensively, gathering 10 blocks to USC’s four and outdigging them 50-44. The win over USC marked the 800th career win for head coach Mary Wise. She is now the only active female Division I to reach 800 wins.
The weekend’s two losses were the first blemishes on USC’s record. Perhaps the only bright spot for the Trojans was Samantha Bricio, the junior outside hitter from Mexico, who scored her 1,000th career kill in the match versus Florida. In the match versus Texas A&M, she contributed 20 kills, 17 digs, four aces, and two blocks and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.