6 hours ago
Knoxville, Tenn. –The 15th-ranked Florida volleyball team defeated the Tennessee Lady Vols in four sets Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Gators improve to 11-3 on the year and 3-1 in the conference, while Tennessee drops to 8-8 overall and 2-2 in the league.
Florida took the first set in extras, taking the win 26-24 to take the lead early in the game. The Gators followed with a 25-23 win in the second set, but the Lady Vols responded with a 25-16 victory in the third frame. Florida closed out the game with a 25-20 victory in the fourth.
Marina Markova led the way for Florida on Wednesday night, earning the game’s 17 kill performance — a Florida best for seniors. Sofia Victoria followed closely with 12 kills, while Gabrielle Essix threw eight in four sets.
Merritt Beason (7) and Bre Kelley (6) combined for 13 kills on the night.
Alexis Stucky dished out 43 assists in the game, leading the team to a .275 clip.
As a team, Florida totaled seven blocks on the night, led by a team record five from Kelley. Beason added three, while Essix netted two in the win.
Elli McKissock paced the backcourt defense, coming up with the effort of 12 digs. Beason and Stucky each threw 10 digs in the win.
McKissock also led the way behind the service line, recording a team record with three service aces in the game.
Florida returns to Exactech Arena for a two-game series against LSU starting Saturday. First serve for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m., while Sunday’s game is scheduled for 3 p.m.
No. 15 Florida (11-3, 3-1 SEC) Tennessee (8-8, 2-2 SEC)
How did it happen
- After falling 2-0 early, the Gators went 4-0 down thanks in part to a service run from McKissock to take a 4-2 lead. The teams continued to trade points mid-set, but the Gators won the battle until the media timeout, taking a 15-12 lead at the break. Outside of the timeout, Florida took the four-point lead, but the Lady Vols fell back to less than one after a 3-0 run. The Gators continued to hold Tennessee at bay, taking a 21-18 lead to force a UT timeout. The Lady Vols used a 4-1 run on that timeout to tie the set at 22 and although it needed extra runs, Florida held on for the 26-24 win to start the game.
- Four different Gators had three kills in the first set: Kelley, Essix, Markova and Beason.
- Tennessee again took the lead early in the second set, but the Gators fought back with a 3-0 run to take a 4-3 lead. It was a back-and-forth setting in the middle of the set, but Florida used a 4-0 run behind McKissock’s serves to take a 19-15 lead and force a timeout by the Lady Vols. Tennessee fought back to tie the frame 23-23, forcing Florida to call their second timeout of the set. Off the break, Markova recorded back-to-back wins to secure Florida’s 25-23 win.
- UF hit .444 in the second set, led by five kills from Markova and Victoria. Essix added three kills, followed by Kelley’s two.
- With the Gators down one point at 10-9, Tennessee went 6-3 to take a 16-12 lead in the third. Florida came back to within two at 16-14, but the Lady Vols again extended their lead to four to force a timeout from the Gators. Tennessee closed the frame on a 9-2 run to take the game to a fourth in Knoxville.
- Markova led the way with three kills in the third frame, followed by two each from Stucky and Victoria.
- The fourth set saw the two teams tied early, but Tennessee took the lead three to take an 11-8 lead. Florida fell to within one at 14-13, but the Lady Vols took a 15-13 lead in media timeout. After the break, the Gators fought back with a 4-0 run to take a 17-16 lead. UF would not look back the rest of the game, taking the set 25-20 to improve to 11-3 on the year.
- Florida hit .371 in the final frame, led by six kills from Markova. Victoria added five kills, while Beason had four.
- Alexis Stucky recorded his third double-double of the year with 43 assists and 10 digs
- Gators improve to 55-13 in all-time series, including 51-8 record under Mary Wise
- Florida is now 12-4 against Tennessee in four sets
- Gators improve to 26-5 against Tennessee in Knoxville
- UF move to 4-1 in four-set matches in 2022 campaign
- The Gators return to Exactech Arena for a two-game series against the LSU Tigers starting Saturday
- Saturday’s first service is scheduled for 6 p.m. on SEC Network+
- Sunday’s game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., also on SEC Network+
Thoughts from Coach Wise
“At different points in the game we had different people stepping up and we found a way.”