The No. 2 Florida Gator volleyball team is on the road tonight, taking on the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gators go into the match undefeated in the SEC at 6-0, while Arkansas holds a 5-2 conference record.
Arkansas is led by junior outside hitter Meredith Hays. Hays has 271 kills this season, over a hundred more than any other Razorback. Hays is at the forefront of the Hogs 6-2 offense, alongside senior outside hitter Haley Koop and senior setter Raymariely Santos.
Gator head coach Mary Wise broke down Arkansas's offensive set.
“Arkansas runs the 6-2 offense, so every rotation they have three hitters. (They're) very big, very physical.”
One of the keys in the matchup figures to be the play of sophomore outside hitter Gabby Mallette. That may have come as a surprise to hear last year, when Mallette didn't do much more than block as a freshman. Now, after a year of adjusting to the college game, Mallette is fourth on the team in both kills and blocks this season. Wise explained Mallette's development.
“It's the same position but now as a returning player, more experienced, we were asking her to be a bigger part of both the offense and the defense,.” Wise said.
Wise attributed Mallette's success this season to the time she put in on the practice court and her natural abilities.
“There's no substitute for hard work, and she came to us a very talented player,” Wise added. “What makes Gabby unique is just how physical she is above the net.”
Coverage of the match tonight begins at 7:50 on ESPN 850 WRUF.