Florida Gators Volleyball
The Gators volleyball team celebrates a point in the team's victory over Sacramento State Thursday night. Photo courtesy of Emma Bissell.

Florida Volleyball Team Takes Five-Set Thriller Over Sacramento State

Thursday, the No. 3 Florida volleyball team survived a hard-fought five-set win over Sacramento State in the first day of the Gators Invitational.

Punch for Punch

The Gators (5-0) were tested by the Hornets (5-3) early in the match, allowing Sacramento State to take advantage of a slow start by Florida. With timely blocks and uncharacteristic serving errors by the Gators, the Hornets escaped with a surprising 25-23 win.

Though, the Gators stormed back with a 25-17 win in the second set. A combination of senior outside hitter AC Fitzpatrick and 6-foot-6 freshman standout Kennedy Martin allowed Florida to bounce back.

Fitzpatrick came off the bench with a mission, collecting six kills in the second set to finish with a career-high 18 kills on the night.

Additionally, Martin shifted the momentum for the Gators with a back row kill mid set. Overall, Martin recorded 17 kills on the night. This carried into the third set with a 7-0 run as the Gators settled to their familiar play with a 25-9 win in the third set.

However, the fourth set brought the drama of the night with a whopping 15 ties and five lead changes through the bulk of the set.

Key service aces by sophomore setter Alexis Stucky and a valiant effort in back-to-back plays from senior libero Ellie McKissock would keep the Gators in reach.

Sacramento State stood up with their backs against the wall, stringing together a run of kills from outside hitters Bridgette Smith (15) and Ellie Tisko (12). Moreover, the duo combined for 27 kills and the Hornets would take the fourth set 25-21.

Only Gators Get Out Alive

Set five was all chomp and no sting.

The Gators stretched out a 7-0 lead backed by McKissock’s pinpoint serving. Anna Dixon sealed the match with a service ace to take the set 15-6.

Up Next

The Gators continue on through the Gators Invitational Friday. The team faces Clemson at 7 p.m. and Winthrop on Saturday at 3 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.

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