There will be Florida Gators volleyball this fall.
However, schedules will look a little bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to grip the U.S.
In a press release from the SEC, the conference announced that teams will play against four opponents twice, for a total of eight games. The season will last six weeks, from Oct. 16 through Nov. 27.
In a call to Sport Scene with Steve Russell on Aug. 28, Gators volleyball coach Mary Wise said the team doesn’t know who its opponents are yet.
According to Wise, she knew her team would be playing as soon as the SEC announced players could retain a year of eligibility, even if they opted out of playing. Once her players felt comfortable with their eligibility, Wise knew her players would be ready to go.
One reason Wise is excited about this season is the talent that the team returns to the roster. Wise specifically mentioned setter Marlie Monserez and outside hitter T’ara Ceasar as two impact players.
Ceasar, a transfer from Georgia who sat last season out due to SEC transfer rules, was All-SEC in 2017 before transferring to Florida. According to Wise, the addition of Ceasar to the lineup improves the team.
The SEC did not mention if the conference would host a tournament. On Sport Scene, Wise suggested that the conference would not make a decision for some time.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented obstacles for Wise’s team. These adversities are something the team overcame over the summer thanks to UF Health. According to Wise, the team is practicing with masks and socially distancing.
Wise said that the team’s motto has been, “Embrace the tough because it is the tough that wins.”
Last season, the Gators went 27-5 overall losing to 7th ranked Minnesota in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. Florida thrived in conference play in 2019, going 16-2 against SEC opponents.