Florida volleyball hosts tournament starting Friday

The ninth-ranked University of Florida Gators volleyball team will be hosting the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational this weekend in the O’Connell Center, also featuring the Jacksonville Dolphins, the Florida Atlantic University Owls, and the Clemson Tigers.

The Gators are coming off of a win against their rivals, the Florida State Seminoles, continuing their three-game sweep winning streak, led by senior Kelly Murphy.

Coach Mary Wise was proud of her team, but is also focusing on what her team can improve on to help them the rest of the season and in this upcoming tournament.

“Our glaring concern right now is the fact that we didn’t block the ball,” Wise said. “It will be a major focus in practice.”

The Gators will play Jacksonville at noon on Friday. The Dolphins currently have a 2-3 record led by senior libero Ashley August and senior Kathryn Kane.

The last time both teams played was in 2008 where the Gators won in 25-18, 25-18, and 25-14 contest.

Florida will play Florida Atlantic for the first time since 2005 at 7:30 p.m., on Friday. The Gators were victorious in that previous matchup, winning in 3 games (30-19, 30-15, 30-14).

The Owls will open up their season at the tournament led by their junior outside hitters, Georgia Robinson, Thacilli Pereira and Isabelle Arboleda.

Dating even further back than the Owls and Gators matchup is the match against Clemson where the two teams have not played since 2004.

The Gators were successful in a three-game sweep (36-34, 30-20, 30-14) against this opponent as well. The Tigers (3-0) will be arriving to Gainesville undefeated led by grad student Cansu Ozdemir, juniors Sandra Adeleye, Alexa Rand and freshman Kristin Faust.

If the crowd is anything like it was for the Florida State game, the Gators can expect to play once again in a packed dome.

Senior Kristy Jaeckel said the home crowd was definitely an advantage Florida enjoyed in that match.

“Definitely thank the students,” she said. They really stood behind us and were there for us 100 percent the whole way.”