Photo by Brian Fox /

The No. 7 Florida Gators fell to the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal in their home opener in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, 25-19) on Wednesday night.

Florida’s Heavy Hitters Struggle

The Gators started the season 2-0 after wins over No. 25 Louisville and Dayton on Friday and Saturday. As a result of their performances, Thayer Hall, Rachael Kramer and Marlie Monserez were all awarded SEC honors. However, against Stanford, Florida’s impact players struggled to get going.

After coming off of her highest kill match in her career, having registered 25 against Dayton, Hall struggled to convert her opportunities. She managed eight total kills and four errors from 29 attempts, ending the match with a .138 hitting percentage.

Kramer had an even tougher night. From 10 total attempts, she got one kill and made six errors, ending the night with a -.500 hitting percentage. There was even one moment when she accidentally gave a perfect set for a Stanford player to spike back into the Florida court.

A Dominant Display

Senior outside hitter Kathryn Plummer had herself a night, registering 21 kills on 34 attempts in the three sets. The only other player to reach double digits in kills was Florida’s Holly Carlton who had 10.

Some other Cardinal members who deserve a nod include senior setter Jenna Gray and senior libero Morgan Hentz. Gray registered 37 assists, and Hentz got 15 digs; both led the game in their respective areas.

Mary Wise Praises Stanford Program

It’s no secret that Stanford is among the elite women’s volleyball programs in the country. The Cardinal won the NCAA title last season and could very well do the same this year.

After the match, Florida Gator volleyball head coach Mary Wise praised her opposition.

“Stanford’s just a terrific program,” said Wise. “They’re well supported, well funded, and they bring in great players every year.”

Wise acknowledged that there was a bit of an experience differential between the two sides, but she says that by the end of the season, the Gators will hopefully have “chipped away” at that gap.

After the defeat, Carlton said that the Gators could learn to play as “underdogs.” She said that many players have been “elite” for their entire careers, but it could help to remove some of that pressure off of their shoulders.

What’s Next?

Next up, the Florida Gators go back on the road to face No. 8 Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have started the season with a 1-2 record, with losses against FSU and Texas. The game will begin at 8 p.m.

For more, follow @ChompTalk and @jericksonreport on Twitter.

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