TAMPA, Fla. – The No. 12 University of Tampa volleyball team is set to travel to West Palm Beach tomorrow to take on the No. 3 Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish.
The Match: No. 12 University of Tampa (11-1, 4-0 SSC) vs. No. 3 Palm Beach Atlantic (13-0, 5-0 SSC)
Date/Time: Friday, September 21 at 7 p.m.
Location: Rubin Arena | West Palm Beach, Fla.
Last Time Out: The Spartans swept the Eckerd College Tritons by set scores of 25-14, 25-18, and 25-20. Leading the way offensively for the Spartans was sophomore outside hitter, Sorrel Houghton. Houghton ended the evening hitting .391 with 12 kills on 23 attempts. Following Houghton's offensive efforts, was that of fellow classman, Melissa Elias. Elias ended the match logging nine kill (.444), nine assists, and nine digs. Junior Sammy Mueller quarterbacked the team in the setting position earning a double-double with 32 assists and 11 digs, while Nicole Dominguez suited up as libero for UT. Dominguez recorded a team-high of 16 digs.
About the Spartans: The Spartans' 11-1 start is the best since the 2014 season. The 2014 team also kicked off the year with a 11-1 start and went on to finish 34-1 concluding the season as national champions. Tampa leads the SSC in hitting percentage (.296), assists (13.57 per set), and kills (14.39 per set). The offensive prowess is a lot in part to the sophomore duo, Houghton and Katie McKiel, who are stride for stride with one another so far this season. Houghton has 161 kills and a .302 kill percentage and McKiel has 154 kills and a .258 kill percentage. The two are third and fifth respectively in the SSC in kills. Junior middle blocker Taylor Fosler has also been crucial to the Spartans success and is currently first in the conference with a .438 kill percentage. Defensively this season, Dominguez has found a new role on the court as libero. The Apopka, Florida native currently sits with 167 digs averaging 3.63 per set and is 13th in the SSC.
About the Sailfish: The Sailfish are currently 13-0, 5-0 in the Sunshine State Conference. Most recently, the Sailfish defeated the Barry Buccaneers in four sets. Offensively the Sailfish are led the pin hitting duo of Amber Rowoldt and Reagan Grooms. Rowoldt and Grooms have 183 and 166 kills respectively, and sit fourth and tenth in the SSC. The team runs a 5-1 offense around senior setter Molly Burkhardt. Burkhardt leads the SSC in assists with 560 total, 11.20 per set. Defense is one of PBA's strong suits, with sophomore Lilly Turner dressing as libero for the Sailfish. Turner has recorded 246 digs on the season, averaging 4.92 digs per set, and is fourth in the SSC. Additionally, the Sailfish are first in the SSC in blocking. The team's blocking efficiency is mainly in part to Maddie Span and Jennie Anderson who have 62 and 60 blocks respectively.
Series History: The Spartans led the all-time series over the Sailfish 9-4.
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