Trinity Adams and Elli McKissock high five each other in the Gators volleyball team's exhibition game against Stetson on Aug. 20. Photo courtesy of Ashley Ray.

No. 8 Gators Volleyball Team Takes Down No. 5 Minnesota

Florida’s first regular season volleyball match in the O’Connell Center this season didn’t disappoint Sunday, as No. 8 Florida defeated No. 5 Minnesota 3-0 to secure another convincing win to start the schedule.

The Gators Continue Their Streak

The Gators (4-0) can expect another boost to their national ranking in the coming days after smoking second-ranked Stanford 3-0 in Palo Alto, California on Tuesday and topping then-No. 8 Penn State 3-1 five days earlier in Tampa. Florida handled Minnesota 25-22, 25-18 and 25-23 before 4,642 fans.

Key Players

A standout for UF was sophomore setter Alexis Stucky, who started strong with two kills, eight assists and three digs in the opening set. An early lead created a cushion that allowed Florida to maintain control the rest of the set. Stucky finished the day with 32 assists and 11 digs.

Florida freshman outside hitter Kennedy Martin also had an impressive game. She posted 15 kills to lead both teams. Martin has excelled in her first four Gator games and looks to be an important part to their success this season.

The X-factor for Florida was area standout AC Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was a spark plug off the bench with seven kills, including a service ace that energized the team in the second set. The senior from Ocala seemed to be everywhere.

Notable Trends

The Gators seemed to overpower the Golden Gophers (2-2) for much of the game. Quick, energetic starts gave Florida early 6-3 leads in each set, allowing the Gators to be more aggressive in their play. Florida had 46 kills compared to Minnesota’s 32.

The power of Martin and Sofia Victoria combined with Stucky’s lethal setter sneak kept Minnesota on its toes all game. The Gophers had a few runs in an attempt to come back in the second and third sets, but the star power of the Gators proved too much to overcome.

Coming Up

Florida awaits Sacramento State on Thursday in the opening game of the Gators Invitational. UF then plays Clemson and Winthrop in the three-day tournament. Florida must continue to build in preparation for its match against top-ranked Wisconsin on Sept. 17 in the O-Dome.

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