Despite their recent loss to No.1 Wisconsin, the Gators volleyball team has spiked away the rest of the competition and will look to defend the O’Connell Center again tonight against Texas A&M.
Gators at Aggies
No.4 Florida will play their third SEC match when they host the Aggies at 7 tonight. Florida comes into the match with an overall record of 10-1 with 2-0 in SEC play. Texas A&M arrives at Exactech Arena with a 9-3 record, 1-1 in conference play.
When it comes to the history between the teams, it tends to favor the Gators, who lead the series 21-1, with the only loss happening in 2015. Florida is undefeated at home in the series at of 10-0.
Defying the Odds
When standout sophomore setter Alexis Stucky went down with a season-ending injury in the loss to Wisconsin, many believed the Gators’ historic run had come to an end. However, Florida has hung up the phone on the doubters by winning every game since. It beat No. 24 Auburn 3-2 last Friday and took down rival Georgia 3-2 on Sunday.
A big contributor to the team’s success has been freshman Kennedy Martin. The outside hitter leads the team with 182 kills, 51 blocks and 16 aces.
Senior Elli McKissock leads UF in digs with 148. McKissock has put up a total of 1,370 digs with the Gators, good for sixth all time for the program. The senior will have the opportunity tonight to move up to fifth with three more digs and possibly fourth if she can add more than 16.
With Stucky out, graduate student Kennedy Muff has stepped up. In her two starts the Flagler transfer has put up six kills, 20 digs, seven blocks and 84 assists.
For Florida to maintain momentum Muff will need to keep bringing the sneaks in for the Gators.
Adding it Up in Aggie Town
After going 13-16 and 5-13 in SEC play in 2022, Texas A&M is heading in the right direction toward a better season.
Although the Aggies have won the majority of their matches this season, the squad has dropped both of their ranked matchups, one against the Razorbacks and the other against former No. 20 Houston. However, Texas A&M, along with Florida, is one of the better defensive teams in the SEC.
Leading that defense is middle blocker Ifenna Cos-Okpalla. The sophomore led the team in blocks against Arkansas with five. Another notable for A&M is Nisa Buzlutepe, who put up 28 assists and nine digs in their last match.
The Gators and the Aggies will play on ESPN. The match can also be heard on ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF.
The first 500 students to arrive to Exactech Arena will receive a Florida Gators belt bag.