GAINESVILLE, Fla. (arkansasrazorbacks.com) – Heading into Sunday’s match, No. 10 Arkansas was 3-50 all-time against No. 19 Florida. Just over 90 minutes later, the Hogs picked up their first win over the Gators in eight years, the first under head coach Jason Watson, and the first-ever in Gainesville, and did so in sweeping fashion.
Arkansas is now 20-3 on the season, marking just the third time in program history that the Razorbacks have had back-to-back-to-back 20-win seasons, the last from 2001 to 2003. The Hogs are 10-1 in SEC play, which keeps them at the top of the standings with No. 15 Kentucky.
The graduate hitter pair of Maggie Cartwright and Jill Gillen both contributed a dozen kills on the day, and Cartwright hit an impressive .348 to bolster the Arkansas offense.
Junior setter Hannah Hogue paced the Hogs with 31 assists and recorded a team-high 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season. Fellow junior and libero Courtney Jackson had nine digs and a team-high three service aces to help push the Hogs toward victory.
The Hogs found themselves down to the home team early on, but a six-point run fueled by three aces from Jackson gave the Hogs a two-point lead and sent the Gators to a timeout. Florida kept pushing, but Arkansas limited the Gators to one point at a time and went up by six at 20-14 off an ace from Jada Lawson. The Razorbacks stayed steady from there and a block by Taylor Head and Sania Petties closed the set 25-19 in favor of Arkansas.
Florida scored the first four points of the second set for a comfortable lead, and while the Hogs generated some short runs, the Gators held on midway through the set. Arkansas found a spark soon enough, though, as a five-point run with three Gillen kills and an ace from her suddenly made it 13-12 Razorbacks. The Hogs reached 20 points off a Florida service error and added another, which sent Florida to a timeout down 21-16. Florida came within three but kills from Cartwright and Head concluded the middle set 25-20 and put Arkansas up 2-0 in the match.
The third set had more back-and-forth than the rest of the match, with 11 ties through the first 12 points. Arkansas got a two-point edge just before the media timeout thanks to a Gillen kill and a block, but it was short-lived as the Gators answered with three straight points. The Hogs got three of the next four to regain the lead, and the Gators called time. It was enough to get something going for them, and they went up by one at 21-20 with an ace. The Hogs huddled and kept tussling, and a setter dump from Hogue made it 22-21 in favor of Arkansas. Florida called time again, and while the Gators tied it twice more, the Razorbacks shut the door with back-to-back kills from Gillen and Head for the 25-23 set victory that secured the sweep.
Arkansas closes out its three-match road trip on Wednesday with a match against the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. First serve is set for 6 p.m. and the contest will be streamed live on SEC Network+.