As glad as the Gophers were to play their first home volleyball match of the season, coach Hugh McCutcheon cautioned that Maturi Pavilion would not be a cure-all.
Given the deficiencies that led to a two-match losing streak — including serving, blocking and being ready from the start — the Gophers needed more than a loud crowd Saturday to beat seventh-ranked Florida.
“Hopefully, [being home] helps us out a point here or a point there,’’ McCutcheon said.
“We don’t want to rely on that. We want to rely on us.’’
A crowd announced at 5,700 did its part, and so did the No. 8 Gophers in a 25-20, 25-17, 25-22 victory.
Vast improvements in nearly every facet of the game gave them their second sweep of the season, evening their record at 2-2.
The Gophers cut down on service errors, played sound defense and withstood some late pressure from the Gators to rebound from consecutive 3-0 losses.
Stephanie Samedy had a match-high 16 kills and added 12 digs, while Adanna Rollins had eight kills and a team-high 13 digs.
After committing 27 service errors in their first three matches, the Gophers had three aces and four errors Saturday. That helped them force Florida to play from behind for much of the match.
The Gators hit only .137 to the Gophers’ .242 and Florida made seven service errors.
“We had to figure some stuff out early in the first two weekends,’’ McCutcheon said. “It felt like we’ve come a long way.
“We weren’t worried about nerves. We were just worried about doing our jobs.’’
The Gophers had a quick turnaround after Wednesday’s sweep at No. 3 Texas, with only a couple of days to work on their problem areas before the home opener.
Samedy said the hitters fine-tuned their technique and footwork, and players tried to instill discipline and consistency in serving and blocking.
The Gophers also emphasized the need to compete hard from the start of the match, something that had been lacking earlier.
“We weren’t probably in the most competitive mind-set we could be [in the first three matches],’’ Samedy said.
“We really wanted to focus on that and bring that to the court from the start.’’
Though Florida (2-2) took a 6-3 lead in the first set, the Gophers roared back, setting the tone for the match. Six consecutive points fueled a 9-1 run, giving them a 12-7 lead and control of the set.
The Gators cut their deficit to 19-17, but the Gophers finished with confidence, taking the set on an Alexis Hart kill.
Florida struggled mightily in the second set, hitting .043. With the score tied 9-9, the Gators misfired on two kill attempts and put a serve into the net, helping the Gophers sprint to an advantage that grew to as many as eight points.
They got another test in the third set. In their two losses, the Gophers dropped a pair of sets in which they held 24-20 leads.
Saturday, they overcame an early Gators lead in the third, then held firm when Florida came within two points late.
“We could have called timeout when we were down by four or five,’’ McCutcheon said. “But we wanted to let them work their way through it.
“I’m really proud of the way they stayed in it and kept their composure.’’