University of Florida takes down AU Volleyball 3-1
In front of a D.C volleyball record attendance, the Eagles dropped a 3-1 decision against the Gators
Despite a record number of fans in Bender Arena on Sunday afternoon, the Eagles fell 3-1 against the No. 4 University of Florida on Aug. 30 in Bender Arena. A crowd of 2,629 filled the bleachers with blue for AU’s inaugural District Day, and Blue Crew members offered face-painting, free t-shirts and free rally towels to all students as part of the event.
"Today we saw how some of our players respond really well to the crowd and playing a competitive match against a good team," AU head coach Barry Goldberg said. "We're young in terms of the season. We've got to get better and are hoping to get another crack at teams like this.”
The Eagles secured initial momentum, and won the first set 26-24 but dropped the next three sets with scores of 20-25, 15-25 and 23-25.
Senior setter Monika Smidova led the Eagles in their early run and finished the first set with a kill to give her team the initial lead.
AU came into the second set with the energy of the crowd behind them and immediately pulled ahead 3-0. The team lost its momentum a few points later when UF earned a kill to help the Gators initiate a comeback. A pair of errors by AU then led to a 12-12 tie, and the Gators took control of the set, eventually winning 25-20.
UF proved its rank in the third set, scoring 20 kills for a 25-15 set win.
In the fourth set, the Eagles lead by as many as seven points late in the set. However, after a couple of Florida subs, the Gators came back for the set win with a score of 25-23.
Smidova finished with 37 assists, 18 digs and six kills. Senior outside hitter Sarah Katz also recorded personal accomplishments, earning 15 kills, while senior outside hitter Allison Cappellino also recorded 15 kills along with nine digs.
"Sarah [Katz] had a good arm today and did a decent job of seeing the court and whacking the ball pretty hard," Goldberg said. "You have to come with power against a team like Florida. Sarah was a very bright spot for us today. She showed that she can compete and hit the ball with the best of them out there."
In a previous interview with The Eagle, Goldberg said the expectations for the team are high because of AU’s previous success in the Patriot League. AU will head to Honolulu Sept. 4-6 to compete in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic where they will take on the University of Hawaii, No. 20 UCLA and University of Iowa. Goldberg said he plans to use Sunday’s game as a chance for the team to build upon the its strengths heading into the remainder of the season.
"It was an exciting match, I think fans came and saw a pretty high-level volleyball match,” Goldberg said. Overall, we'll take the positives and move forward with it."