Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

The Gators played in their first home game in 17 days and came up with a win in four hard-fought sets (25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 27-25).

No. 15 Florida went into the game with a 3-1 SEC record and were looking to add to the win column as it took on the Louisiana State Tigers in Gainesville.

The home team started the opening set with a kill by Merritt Beason. After errors by both teams, Beason came back with another kill to give the Gators a 3-1 lead.

The Gators scored four of the next seven points and held a 7-4 lead. However, LSU made sure to keep the set close and took the next four points to take an 8-7 lead.

The teams exchanged service errors and then took turns scoring, putting the Tigers on top, 11-10. Florida put an end to the back-and-forth stretch and won six serves in a row to give them the lead, 16-11.

LSU scored off a kill by Anita Anwusi, but UF went on another run, this time four points, to lead, 20-12. The Gators took three of five serves and held a 9-point, 23-14 lead.

The Tigers went on a 4-point run, but couldn’t catch the Gators who won the first set, 25-18.

Florida started the second set the same way it began the first, with an early lead, this time because of a service error by LSU. The Tigers committed another error and got blocked and then got a kill of their own as the Gators led, 3-1.

UF gots its first kill of the set when Alexis Stucky assisted Sofia Victoria for the Gator point. After a point for LSU, Florida won back-to-back serves, including another kill by Victoria.

The home team held a 4-point lead, but it disappeared after a 6-2 run by LSU to tie the set at 8. Each team scored 3 points to keep the set ties at 11, but the Gators rebounded with a 4-point run to give them a 15-11 lead.

The Tigers won four of the next six serves and trailed by only 2, 17-15. The Gators scored 3 points in a row, but the Tigers answered with a 3-point run themselves, forcing a Gators timeout.

LSU scored another 3 in a row following the Florida timeout to put them ahead, 21-20. The Gators won back-to-back serves and quickly retook the lead, 22-21.

The Tigers took the lead back, 23-22, after kills by Alia Williams and Sanaa Dotson. The Gators called a timeout but lost the following serve when Williams blocked Gabrielle Essix’s shot.

An attack error by LSU brought the Gators closer, but a service error by AC Fitzpatrick gave the 25-23 second-set victory to the Tigers.

Williams gave the Tigers an early lead this time with a kill, but UF didn’t let their opponent hold the lead for long, going on a 4-point run. The teams split the next ten serves to push the score to 9-6 in favor of Florida.

The Gators took the next three points as well to put them ahead by 6, 12-6. The Tigers scored five points in a row, including 2 kills by Dotson, to put them within one point.

Marina Markova stopped the run with a kill to give Florida a 13-11 lead. Williams got another kill, but a Florida 3-point run put UF ahead 16-12.

The Tigers won five of six serves behind Williams’ two serves to tie the set at 17 and force a Gators timeout. A Beason kill and LSU error put UF back on top, 19-17. Florida allowed only two more points the rest of the set and won, 25-19.

LSU, again, took the first point of the set as the fourth set began. Markova got a kill, but a Canaan service error, but the Tigers back on top, 2-1.

The Gators then took five of six points and led, 6-3. Florida and LSU split the next fourteen serves, and the home team led, 13-10.

They went on a 5-2 run and led by 6, 18-12. LSU scored three in a row, including two service aces by Ella Larkin. Markova stopped the bleeding with a kill to give Florida a 19-15 lead.

The Tigers retaliated with a 4-point run to tie the set at 19. Each team scored to tie it at 20 and then took turns scoring two in a row until Florida led 25-24.

Anwusi got a kill to tie it at 25, but Markova answered with a kill, and Bre Kelley ended the set with a service ace to win the set 27-25 and win the match 3-1.

The Gators were a force at the net, tallying up 15.5 blocks as they ate up LSU’s attacks all night. Kelley and Essix wouldn’t let an attack past them as they tied for a team-leading 7 blocks.

Stucky directed the offense with her 44 assists, while also contributing 2 blocks and 4 digs. Elli McKissock led the team with 21 digs, but Beason’s 11 digs were instrumental in the team’s win.

Beason also contributed 15 kills, tied with Markova for the team high, and 5 blocks.

The Gators play LSU again at 3 p.m. Sunday in Gainesville.

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