Florida volleyball is now 3-2 after hosting the Bubly Invitational in the Swamp. The University of Southern California, the University of Louisville, and the University of Central Florida joined the Gators in the meet. Florida topped Louisville and UCF, but came up short against No. 7 USC. Missed the meet? We’ve got you covered.
The most anticipated match of the meet was a battle between the No. 4 Gators and the No. 7 Trojans.
Florida dropped the first set to USC after falling behind 10-2 early on. In the next set, the Gators came back swinging, posting a .382 clip. The two teams went tit-for-tat in the third set, as the Trojans gained its second 10-2 lead over Florida of the night. Gator Macy Phillips served 2 clutch aces to help bring the team within 4 points, but after 7 Florida errors, the third set went to the Trojans. The Gators dropped the fourth set with a close 25-21 score.
USC’s Brooke Botkin recorded 20 kills on the night, contributing to the team’s big win. One of the most notable Gator stat lines of the night came from redshirt sophomore Holly Carlton. The University of North Carolina transfer made a career-high 16 kills. Sophomore Macy Phillips ended the night with a career-high three service aces. Junior Allie Gregory finished with a team-best 17 digs and redshirt senior Allie Monserez dished out a team-high 21 assists.
The Gators avenged the USC loss the next night with a win over the Louisville Cardinals.
Florida won in four sets (after dropping the second 25-23). The Cardinals were the first unranked opponent of the Gators’ season and the team showed out.
Senior Taelor Kellum recorded 10 kills and seven blocks behind an .833 hit clip. Freshman Thayer Hall and R-So. Holly Carlton posted 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
Florida made 10 blocks on the night, holding the Cardinals to a measly .203 hitting percentage.
Coach Mary Wise was pleased with the match against Louisville saying, “This is one of those wins that are going to help us down the road.”
Florida closed out the Invitational with an in-state match against UCF. Similiarly to the win over the Cardinals, Florida won the match 3-1.
During this match, the Gators dropped the second set. But, the team managed to get themselves out of close calls in the first and third sets.
Florida dug itself out of two holes in different sets. The first set had UCF up 9-5, but the Gators won after managing to reach a 17-17 breakeven. In the third set, a 15-11 deficit turned to an 18-18 score, and eventually a win. Florida won the fourth set handily, with a 25-17 score.
Breakout freshman Thayer Hall had a stellar night on both sides of the court, going for 19 digs and 20 kills. Hall now has 87 kills through 5 games. Holly Carlton had another impressive night with 10 kills.
Freshman Lauren Dooley made her debut with the Gators and ended up being integral to the four-set win. Dooley’s stats included three blocks and a game-winning kill.
Following the match, Hall and Carlton were named to the All-Tournament team. USC had the most team selections behind Brooke Botkin, Khalia Lanier, and MVP Raquel Lazaro. UCF’s Kristina Fisher and Louisville’s Jasmine Bennett rounded out the group.
Next up, the Gators will travel to Flagstaff, Ariz. for the Lumberjack Invitational for a Thursday match against CSUN. Friday will bring a match against Northern Arizona before the team will finishes up against Southern Illinois on Saturday.