Alabama State to clash with Florida in NCAA Tourney
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - On the heels of its third Southwestern Athletic Conference volleyball title in four seasons, Alabama State has a familiar foe in the opening round of the postseason.
The Lady Hornets will face the University of Florida to begin play in the NCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament. The field was revealed Sunday night. Alabama State has faced Florida in its prior two trips to the NCAA tournament.
Alabama State comes into the match with a 28-10 record -- which included a second-straight season of spotless conference play. Including play in the SWAC Volleyball Tournament, no team in the country has won more matches against conference opposition without a loss (21-0), and the Lady Hornets boast the second-longest active winning streak against conference teams, having claimed 42 consecutive victories.
The Gators come in ranked as the No. 2 overall seed with a 25-1 (17-1 SEC) overall record and recently clinched the Southeastern Conference title after downing Missouri in four sets. Carli Synder leads the Gators with 318 kills and is second with 306 digs, and Rachael Kramer posted 267 kills on a .431 attack percentage. Statistically, Rhamat Alhassan is the team's best two-way player (247 kills, team-best 162 blocks, .387 hit percentage). Allie Monserez facilitates the offense with 699 assists on the season, as the Gators have five players with at least 100 kills.
SWAC Player of the Year Ni'yesha Brown put away 444 kills and is the engine for the Alabama State offense. Briana Dorsey anchors the middle, notching 344 kills on a league-best .409 attack clip to go with 135 blocks, and sophomore standout Payten Clark has posted 215 kills and 116 blocks. With Bayle' Bennett (313 K) and Krysta Medearis (272 K) proven as difference makers on the outside, Alabama State has five players that have crossed the 200-kill threshold.
Alabama State and Florida face off Thursday,Nov. 30 at 7 PM EST -- 6 PM local -- in Gainesville, Fla.