Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The ninth-ranked Florida volleyball team swept the Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday afternoon in Exactech Arena.
The Gators improve to 12-3 on the year and 4-2 in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide falls to 10-6 overall and 0-5 in the league.
Florida took the first set in a tight 25-22 battle, then followed with a 29-27 victory in the second to take the 2-0 match lead. The Gators closed out the match with a 25-19 win in the final frame to move to 4-2 in the SEC.
AC Fitzpatrick posted a 14-kill effort with a .394 clip on the afternoon, leading the way offensively for Florida. Kennedy Martin pitched in 11 in the win, continuing her streak of 15 matches with 10+ kills, while Anna Dixon followed with nine kills and a .643 clip of her own.
Kennedy Muff dished out 32 assists in the three-setter, leading the team to a .337 clip. Trinity Adams added three helpers of her own in the win.
As a squad, the Gators tallied 10.0 blocks at the net. Florida was led by a four-block performance from both Sofia Victoria and Gabrielle Essix. The four blocks tied Victoria’s career-high. Nnedi Okammor added three in the win, followed by two apiece from Fitzpatrick, Muff, Martin and Dixon.
Elli McKissock led the backcourt with a team-high 17 digs on the night. That moves her to 1,428 for her career and just 16 digs away from tying Lyra Vance for third place in program history. Adams and Martin each pitched in six digs to follow McKissock.
Behind the service line, Martin and Emily Canaan each recorded two aces on the afternoon.
The Gators are back in action on Friday, Sept. 13 when the team travels to Starkville, Miss. to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET on SEC +.
No. 9 Florida (12-3, 4-2 SEC)
Alabama (10-6, 0-5 SEC)
How It Happened
- With the first set tied 4-all, the Gators exploded on a 9-3 run to grab the 13-7 advantage and force a timeout by the Crimson Tide. Out of the break, Alabama chipped away after a 5-0 run to pull within one at the 18-17 mark and this time forced a Florida timeout. The Crimson Tide once again pulled to within one at the 20-19 mark and at 23-22, but the Gators responded with a 2-0 run to close out the frame with a 25-22 win.
- Florida hit a stellar .417 in the first set, led by four kills from Martin and three from Fitzpatrick.
- The second set was close to start, but with the score tied 3-3, Florida used a 6-2 run to take the 9-5 lead. The Crimson Tide cut the Gators’ lead to just one at 11-10, but UF used a 4-0 spurt of its own behind the serves of McKissock to take the 15-10 advantage into the media timeout. Florida continued to roll out of the media timeout, taking the 18-11 lead behind back-to-back Martin kills. The Crimson Tide responded, tying the set at 20-20, but the Gators took by the two-point lead at 22-20 to force an Alabama timeout. Following the break, the Crimson Tide answered with a 3-0 run to take the 23-22 advantage. Two massive blocks from Martin and Essix put the Gators ahead 24-23, but Alabama battled back to tie it at 24-all. The teams traded points until a 3-0 run behind the serves of Fitzpatrick gave Florida the 29-27 win.
- Martin and Fitzpatrick each registered five kills in the second set, followed by four from Dixon.
- With the third set tied 7-7, the Gators used a 5-0 run behind the serves of Adams to grab the 12-7 lead. Alabama battled back to within four at 15-11, but three-straight points from Florida gave the Gators the 18-11 lead and forced a timeout from the Tide. Out of the break, UF pulled ahead eight at the 20-12 mark, but Alabama used a 3-0 run to cut the deficit to five. The Gators held control after that, winning 25-19 to secure the sweep.
- Florida hit .394 in the final frame, led by six kills from Fitzpatrick. Dixon and Victoria each added three to secure the win.
- Kennedy Martin continued her streak of matches with at least 10 kills, moving to 15-straight
- AC Fitzpatrick registered 14 kills in the match, her ninth match this season in double-digit kills
- Elli McKissock tallied 17 digs, her 13th match in double-digit kills this season, including her 12th-straight match
- Sofia Victoria tied her career-high with 4.0 blocks on the afternoon
- The Gators improve to 52-0 against the Crimson Tide in the all-time series, including a 50-0 record under Wise
- Florida improves to 48-0 against Alabama in three-set matches
- UF is now 27-0 against Alabama in Gainesville, Fla.
- The Gators are now 5-1 in three-set matches during the 2023 campaign
- Elli McKissock is now just 16 digs away from tying Lyra Vance (1,444 digs)
Thoughts from Coach Wise
- “What a good comeback match for this team. It is so important to learn how to battle because every match in this league is going to be a battle.”
- The Gators are back in action on Friday, Sept. 13 when the team travels to Starkville, Miss. to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs
- First serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET on SEC +