Florida Gators Volleyball will close out the fall season this weekend, as they host the Georgia Bulldogs for their final two-match series. Friday’s match is set for 7 p.m., while Saturday’s first serve will commence at 5 p.m. The fourth-ranked Gators enter the series with a 5-1 record.
The Florida Gators are coming off of their first loss of the season after South Carolina won in a five-set match. According to Head Coach Mary Wise, the tightly contested match is seen as a learning opportunity by the team.
“They were better in the serve pass game. They passed the ball very well and as a result, were in system more often than we were. We also credit South Carolinas servers. There were also a lot of breaks that didn’t go our way,” Wise said.
Right Side Holly Carlton explained that her team was able to grow much more after the last loss.
Bring on the Bulldogs
Despite the South Carolina loss, the Gators are looking forward and aim to end the fall portion of the season on a high note. At the conclusion of this weekend’s matches, the team will be unable to train or practice together until January per NCAA regulations. In addition to that, the timeline for next year’s practices and schedule is very unknown.
“We’re not allowed to train again until we come back in January and we don’t have a schedule. We don’t know when we can start. We don’t know when the players can come back. Just like 2020, there are so many unknowns going into 2021,” Wise said.
Outside Hitter T’ara Ceasar will be facing some familiar faces. Ceasar began her college career playing for the Georgia Bulldogs before transferring to Florida. Although, Coach Wise explained that Ceasar has nothing but respect and close friendships with her former coaches and teammates.
Freshman MB Nnedi Okammor gave huge contributions to her college start last weekend where she recorded seven kills. According to Coach Wise, she is expected to be more utilized.
“What we have found over the years is that blocking is one of the last skills to really come around because it is so vastly different than blocking in high school or club. It is an elite skill that takes a high volleyball IQ to be a great blocker. Nnedi certainly has the tools to mentally and physically to embrace that. We think she’s just going to get better and better,” Wise said.