Gators Volleyball huddle on court
The Gators dropped a four-set match against the Seminoles. Photo by Courtney Culbreath

Gators Volleyball Faces Top-25 Matchup vs. Tennessee

No. 23 Gators volleyball (14-6, 8-2 SEC) returns to the Exactech Arena on Thursday after over two weeks on the road and in practice. Florida will jump back into action against No. 22 Tennessee  (16-5, 8-3 SEC), who comes off two losses. Tennessee will look to end its streak, while Florida aims to build on its three-game win streak. The first serve will fly at 7 p.m.

A Snapshot of Florida’s Season

Gators volleyball huddle
The Gators huddle after winning a point in the second set against NO. 20 Stanford. This is Florida’s first lose of the season as they are now 3-1. (Credit: floridagators.com)

The last time Gators volleyball played a ranked opponent, they dropped both matches. The Volunteers are, in fact, the first ranked team the Gators have played since then-No.17  Baylor (now No. 10) on Sept. 11.

Florida looked a little different back then. Freshman Merritt Beason was still adjusting to her new position on the right side. The middle opposite of Third Team All-American Lauren Forte appeared a looming question. Freshman Bre Kelley has now assumed a spot in the middle. Outside Thayer Hall was battling injury at the time but still played along fellow outside T’ara Ceasar who led the Gators in kills.

After their last showing in Exactech Arena and road game, in which they swept Texas A&M and Alabama, the Gators had 10 days off to rest. They boosted their sweep streak to three, with a victory at Missouri (4-20, 1-10) on Saturday. The outside duo had 13 kills apiece. Kelley tied career-high for blocks with six, while Beason had five.

After the Missouri match, senior setter Marlie Monserez now stands 28 assists away from No. 6 in career program assists. She has amassed 3,279 assists in four years.

https://twitter.com/GatorsVB/status/1454863239020363781?s=20

No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers

The Volunteers have put together one of their best seasons in recent history.

Senior middle blocker Ava Bell has won both SEC Defensive and Offensive player of the week this season. Meanwhile, experienced outside Breana Runnels, a grad transfer from Colorado, and junior Morgahn Fingall are both averaging over three kills a set on the season.

However, the Volunteers have dropped their last two games. They dropped to LSU in three sets on Oct. 24. Last Wednesday in Knoxville, Kentucky swept the Volunteers in three sets. Tennessee didn’t even put up 20 points in a single set.

Looking Ahead for Gator Volleyball

Head coach Mary Wise stands seven wins away from 1,000 in her career. As the Gators enter their final month of the regular season, they have eight games to achieve this milestone. And, grab the regular-season SEC Championship.

How to Watch

The game will stream live Thursday on SEC Network+ at 7 p.m.

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