Up two sets to one, Florida State freshman Morgan Chacon landed her team-leading 14th kill of the night to send the Gators home after four sets.
After dropping back-to-back home matches to No. 12 Baylor last weekend, No. 14 Florida lost to in-state rival Florida State Wednesday night in Tallahassee. The loss marks Florida’s first against an unranked opponent and brings the Gators’ overall record to 4-4 (.500).
The Gators did not lose from start to finish. In fact, they narrowly prevailed in the first set before the Seminoles outplayed Florida for three consecutive sets. The first set was the only set in which Florida’s hitting percentage (.316) was higher than that of FSU (.068). The Gators landed 16 kills with just four errors, while the Seminoles logged 11 kills with a staggering eight errors.
Though Florida State had multiple set-point opportunities after building a 24-22 lead, the Gators scored the next four points — thanks to outside hitter Sofia Victoria’s trio of kills — to capture the opening set. Victoria’s offensive production skyrocketed as the sophomore tallied a career-high 24 kills after she landed only five kills through her first six matches this season. Redshirt senior outside hitter T’ara Ceasar was the only other Gator that produced double-digit kills. Ceasar and Victoria each racked up 10 digs to record double-doubles, marks Ceasar’s third this season and Victoria’s first in her career.
The Gators fell back to Earth in the subsequent three sets in which they landed one fewer kill but committed 10 more errors than Florida State. Trailing by one midway through the second set, the Seminoles scored eight straight points to take a commanding 16-9 lead. FSU’s advantage was not difficult to maintain considering Florida’s six unforced errors down the stretch of the set.
Florida State carried its momentum into the third set in which it jumped out to a 15-5 lead en route to a six-point victory. The fourth and final set marked Florida State’s most efficient set offensively. It landed 16 kills on 33 attempts with only 3 errors (.394).
No. 14 Florida: 26-15-19-20
Florida State: 24-25-25-25
The Gators will look to bounce back at the O’Connell Center Saturday where they’ll host Coastal Carolina in a weekend series. Saturday’s match is scheduled for noon and Sunday’s match will start at 1 p.m. Both contests will air on SEC Network+.