The Gators volleyball team fired on all cylinders on Saturday, dominating the visiting California State University Dominguez Hills in three sets.
The team controlled the entire game, leading the three sets by as much as 10, 6 and 12 points respectively. Dominguez Hills led only one time in the match – the first point of the game. After that point, the Gators held the lead throughout the contest.
Outside hitter Jaclyn Clark who continued her hot streak, finishing the game with a 16 kill-15 dig double-double.
“Every practice we are working on playing faster-paced volleyball, because you have to against these fast-paced teams we play,” Clark said, “Our number one focus is urgency. Nobody is playing lazy out there.”
In the midst of a 2015 season filled with four and five set matches and drawn out sets, the quick victory was refreshing, according to head coach, Jill Muhe.
“The hardest thing to do in the sport of volleyball is to beat a quality team in three sets,” Muhe said, “And it’s even harder when you were playing high level volleyball the night before, and again a few nights before that.”
Muhe was pleased with her team’s recent run of solid home performances but stressed the importance of carrying their new-found energy into future contests.
“It’s really nice to protect our home court, but it doesn’t stop there,” Muhe said. “We have three games again next week, on the road this time, and we are looking to carry this momentum and this high level of volleyball onto the next one.”
Earlier in the season, the Gators were being out-blocked consistently, but according to middle blocker Christine Johnson, who commanded the net with an impressive 9 total blocks, focus in practice has turned that weakness into a strength.
“We are always focusing on blocking in practice, and for me I just work on getting my hands over the net,” Johnson said. “It pays off when I get to stuff one back in their faces.”
Johnson repeatedly showed up in the right spots to get a block, tip or even change the shot into an easy dig for the back line. It was an impressive performance from a player who doesn’t traditionally play middle blocker, according to Muhe.
“We’ve decided to move Christine into the middle,” Muhe said. “She gets more opportunities there to go for blocks than on the outside. I think she’s embraced the role terrifically.”
With the victory, the Gators have their first winning record of the season with four wins and three losses. The team also boasts a winning home record of three wins and two losses.
The team will begin a three game road trip next week with games against Cal State East Bay (10/6), California State San Bernadino (10/9) and University of California, San Diego (10/15).