Gators Volleyball celbrates after winning a point. Photo from @GatorsVB on Twitter.

Gators Volleyball Grabs Close Victory at Auburn

No. 3 Florida volleyball team started conference play in the SEC with another five-set win against No. 24 Auburn on Friday night. Neville Arena was rocking all throughout the intense back-and-forth game in Auburn.

Gators Bounce Back

This was an important game for Florida’s outlook the rest of the season. After suffering their first loss to No. 1 Wisconsin on Sunday and losing star setter Alexis Stucky for the season in the process, the future was uncertain. Even after their historic start, there were question marks around their success without Stucky.

Fifth-year setter Kennedy Muff filled in for the injured Stucky Friday night in her first start for Florida (9-1, 1-0 SEC). Muff finished the game against Wisconsin on Sunday and put up 28 assists, but wasn’t able to provide Stucky’s scoring ability with a -0.571 kill percentage.

Despite the question marks, the Gators were unrelenting on the road in the comeback win over Auburn (10-2, 0-1). A come-from-behind win in the second set was really the catalyst for success. Taking the set 26-24 to tie the game at one set a piece kept the game at arms length. Although Florida fell in the third set, their fourth set victory drew them back up. With all the experience the Gators have in the fifth set this season, they were able to edge it out with a tight 17-15 victory in the final set.

Teamwork is Key

Although there were not any crazy numbers individually for Florida in the game, they had four double digit scorers and three players in double digits for kills in the game. Dynamic outside duo Kennedy Martin and AC Fitzpatrick both put up 15 kills and Sofia Victoria joined the party with 13 of her own.

Muff lead the game in assists with 45 while libero Elli McKissock also got in on the action with seven.

Defense was another major success story for Florida Friday night. The Gators recorded 11 blocks on the night, including a season-high seven blocks from senior middle blocker Nnedi Okammor. In close games like this one, the grit and determination of the Gators always seems to get them through.

Ready For the Bulldogs

After a 1-0 start in the SEC, the Gators gear up for another SEC match against Georgia back in Gainesville on Sunday night.  The game will air on the SEC Network and first serve is set for 7 p.m.

About Nick Abreu

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