Photo courtesy of @GatorsVB via Twitter.

Gators Volleyball Host Gators Invitational

Florida’s volleyball team will host the Gators Invitational starting today in the O’Connell Center.

The third-ranked Gators are off to a 4-0 start for the 17th time in program history. The Gators are pitted against Sacramento State (5-1), Clemson (4-2) and Winthrop (0-6) in the three-day tournament. Florida begins the tournament against Sacramento State at 7 p.m., followed by a match against Clemson on Friday and will close out the event with a 3 p.m. game against Winthrop.

How will the Gators fair against these teams? Let’s take a look at some key players in this tournament, and get to know why this team has had so much success as of late.

Top-10 Material

Florida is very good at volleyball this season. Nothing is set in stone just yet, but often times in sports the past can predict the future. The Gators happen to have built a great resume this season despite only having played four games.  Florida boasts wins over two Top-5 teams in the same week, a feat never accomplished in program history.

The Gators Invitational is poised to be a relatively easy affair for the third-ranked team, considering the Gators have a winning record against all other teams in the event. This team is a gem and is going to be a very exciting success story to follow as we get deeper into the season.

Keys To Success for Gators

This season, players on the Florida team have proved themselves. Freshman Kennedy Martin, and Sophomore Alexis Stucky come to mind when discussing who is going to be key for this team’s success. Martin was named SEC Overall Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Against then No. 2 Stanford, Martin tallied a team-high 16 kills with only three errors on a .394 hitting percentage. Against Minnesota, Martin got 15 kills, which led the Florida offense for the fourth-straight match. She added seven digs, a block and an ace in the victory as well.

Head coach Mary Wise has had high praise for her 33rd Gators volleyball team.

“I truly believe that anything you need to know about this team is seen in their celebrations,” Wise said in postgame press conference after the big win over Minnesota. “Watch how they celebrate, how they reconnect, make eye contact. The support they show for one another whether on the court or not, that is real. That is authentic.”

Sophomore Alexis Stucky earned SEC Setter of the Week on Monday. Stucky is No. 1 in the SEC for assists per set, as she helps facilitate this Gator offense. Against the then-No. 2 Stanford Cardinal, Stucky scored a staggering 31 assists, matching the number of kills Kennedy Martin earned between her games against Stanford and Minnesota.


About Tyler Kenyon

Tyler Kenyon is a Tampa, FL native who is a third-year journalism and business student at the University of Florida.

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