Florida
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.

Florida Volleyball Falls to Arkansas in Thriller

The No. 20 Florida volleyball team was taken down in five sets by No. 10 Arkansas in Fayetteville on Sunday. This was the second meeting between the teams this season after an away sweep for Arkansas in the last one. After the loss, the Gators move to 17-8 on the season with a 9-7 conference record.

Tight Contest

Arkansas has been one of the best teams in the SEC this season and are still in the running for the SEC title. The Gators kept up with the Razorbacks throughout the game, but could not pull out the win in the final set.

You could see the talent on display as both teams put up great games. On the defensive side of the ball, especially, both teams thrived. Throughout the game, there were long rallies and a lot of close calls. It was a game of runs seeing multiple four-to-five point runs and lead changes in each set.

Defensive Battle

Defense was huge for both teams in the match. Florida recorded 84 total digs while Arkansas had 78. Florida also had 14 blocks on the night. Kennedy Martin led the Gators in blocking with eight and Gabbi Essix wasn’t far behind with seven.

The long rallies were on show with both teams being held under a .250 hitting percentage. The only players that were able to get through the opposing defenses were Florida’s AC Fitzpatrick (19 kills, .357%) and Arkansas’ Jillian Gillen (26 kills, .359%). Big scorers such as Kennedy Martin (19 kills) and Sofia Victoria (12 kills) were able to score, but were held to .212 and .130 clips respectively.

https://twitter.com/GatorsVB/status/1726358127073747182

Florida’s Future

With the loss to Arkansas, Florida cannot secure home games in the first and second rounds of the upcoming NCAA tournament. Even with the win it would’ve been a long shot, but a top-ten win would’ve been important in creating a flow to end the season.

Florida is still ranked No. 20 in the national rankings and is a lock for the tournament. Nevertheless, it is important to end the season strong to transition smoothly into the postseason. With only two games remaining in the regular season, including a rematch against No. 12 Kentucky, the Gators should be ready for the upcoming challenges.

Florida will be back in Gainesville on November 22 to face off against South Carolina. The game will air at 3 p.m. on SEC Network +.

About Nick Abreu

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