Florida volleyball is back in business. After last season’s National Championship run where the Gators left as runners-up, the team is looking to build on the stellar season. Florida is competing in the VERT Challenge held in Lincoln, Nebraska against two top-ranked teams. Chomp Talk scouts the opponents.
The seventh ranked Gators will head to Lincoln, Nebraska to kick off the 2018 season. Unfortunately for them, the opener will be on the home court of the reigning National Champion Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are currently ranked second in the preseason.
While Florida lost four All-American seniors after last year’s match, Nebraska still has Mikaela Foecke. Foecke won the Most Outstanding Player honor at last year’s NCAA Championship.
6-foot-8 junior Rachael Kramer is the favorite to lead the Gators this year. Kramer will be a huge asset against the Cornhuskers, as two of her career highs (20 kills and 21.5 points) came in the National Championship match.
The team is adamant that the match-up is not a “revenge game.” But considering the Gators have a 3-9 record against the Huskers, expect Florida to give their all. This meet is slated for Friday August 24th at 7PM
There is a good chance that the Gators could start their season 0-2. They will take on the third-ranked Texas Longhorns just one day after Nebraska.
This is the second year in a row that Florida will begin the season against Texas. Last season, the Gators bested the top-ranked Longhorns in the Swamp. This season’s neutral site might put the team at a slight disadvantage. In 2017, Texas recorded the second most blocks in the nation (3.12) and Florida was ninth (2.93).
Florida’s young team will be put to the test against Texas. The Gators brought in seven top-ranked recruits, including number one overall recruit Thayer Hall. Only two seniors (Allie Monserez and Taelor Kellum) will return, but only Monserez has significant minutes logged with the Gators. Lucky for them though, the Longhorns also skew younger, welcoming six freshmen on this year’s team. This meet is scheduled for Saturday, August 25th at 4:30 PM.