After a heartbreaking five-set loss against Missouri Sunday afternoon, the Florida Gators (24-3, 14-2 SEC) find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the SEC. Tied with Kentucky and Missouri, Florida needs to win their final two games of the season to ensure they hold on to the top spot.
Florida will face off against Auburn (15-14, 9-7 SEC) at home on Wednesday night and finish their season on the road against Arkansas (8-20, 6-10 SEC) Saturday evening.
Florida and Auburn
Florida and Auburn met twice in the 2015 season. The Gators took the win at home, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-18). Alex Holston led both teams in kills in that match, with 12. For the Tigers, it was then-sophomore Courtney Crable who led her team with 10 kills.
A month later, the two teams played a five-set thriller where the Auburn Tigers left with the win, 3-2 (25-22, 16-25, 24-26, 25-21, 18-16). It was Courtney Crable who led both teams in kills this time, recording for 20. Florida’s Alex Holston was one kill shy of Crable.
The Gators have never lost to the Tigers at home (19-0). Florida leads the series 45-3.
Florida and Arkansas
Florida also faced off against Arkansas twice in the 2015 season. Just like against Auburn, the Gators won one and lost one. The two teams met up in Fayetteville in October. The Razorbacks left the court victorious, 3-2 (25-23, 15-25, 25-19, 18-25, 18-16). With 21 kills, Arkansas senior Pilar Victoria led both teams in that category. Alex Holston led for the Gators with 16.
The Gators got their revenge a few weeks later in Gainesville, when Florida defeated Arkansas, 3-0 (25-10, 25-16, 25-16). It was Rhamat Alhassan who led both teams in kills, with 14. Victoria Pilar led the Razorbacks in kills, recording 10.
Arkansas has never defeated the Gators in Gainesville, where Florida boasts a 17-0 home record against the team. The Gators lead the series all-time 38-3.
Coming into Wednesday night’s match, Florida is 24-3 and Auburn is 15-14. In the SEC, the Gators lead the conference in hitting percentage (.329). The Tigers rank in the sixth spot with .228. The Arkansas Razorbacks find themselves in the eleventh spot with .183. Auburn leads the conference in aces, recording 87 compared to Florida’s 74. Arkansas is last in the conference in aces with 49.
Alex Holston leads the Gators in kills with 329. Auburn sophomore Brenna McIlroy leads her team with 327 kills.
The Gators are 10-1 at home this season, their only loss coming from a clean sweep by Kentucky in September. Of those ten home wins, eight have been clean sweeps. Florida’s consistent dominance on their home court could prove to be a problem for the Tigers, who are 5-7 on the road this season.
Regardless of their past, Florida head coach Mary Wise says Auburn’s progress throughout this season will make Wednesday’s match a crucial one.
Wednesday night’s match is the second-to-last match of the regular season for both teams. On Saturday, Auburn will complete their regular season at home against Texas A&M (19-8, 13-3 SEC). Florida will end their regular season play on the road in Arkansas at 2 p.m.
Florida and Auburn will take the court Wednesday night at 8.