Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

The Florida Gators Volleyball team was back in action Sunday. The team hosted an exhibition match as they welcomed their fanbase back for another season. The 2023 Gators put their talents on display as they would go on to win all four sets of the scrimmage.

Although Florida lost some key contributors from the team a year ago, there were still elite playmakers all over the court. As Coach Mary Wise enters year 33 as the Gators head coach, she will have plenty of talent to work with. Wise will have an impressive freshman class, veteran program players, and transfers to round out her roster this season.

There will numerous storylines to follow this year as the season goes on. However, here are my three biggest takeaways from yesterday’s exhibition match.


If Gator Volleyball fans weren’t familiar with this name, they were after they left the O’Dome yesterday. AC Fitzpatrick is a senior outside hitter who transferred to Florida from Penn State before last season. After only seeing action in 13 matches a year ago, Fitzpatrick will look to have a much larger workload this fall.

She has a very aggressive swing from the outside and an impressive topspin serve to pair with it. Given the limited role that Fitzpatrick had last year, she will be a breakout performer in 2023. Gator fans should not be surprised at all if she ends up leading the team in kills this year. Moreover, AC Fitzpatrick might have flat out been the best player on the court yesterday.


The freshman class will give Coach Wise some depth to work with. Kennedy Martin is a freshman outside, and weakside hitter. With a 6’6 frame, Martin was collecting kills and blocks with ease for the Gators. Her height and athleticism will create problems for opposing teams in 2023.

Madi Gravlee is another freshman outside hitter for Florida. Gravlee also has impressive size standing at 6’4. She is the daughter of former Gator Volleyball player, Julie Stanhope. After tallying a number of kills for the team yesterday, Madi Gravlee will look to carry out her families legacy in Gainesville throughout her career.

Florida fans could very well see these two players for a number of years to come. With Martin and Gravlee both having immense raw talent, Gator Nation is most likely looking at the future outside hitters for the squad in these two players.


One of my biggest takeaways from the exhibition match didn’t occur while play was in action. Elli McKissock is a senior libero for the Gators. In what will be her final season for the Orange and Blue, McKissock seems to be the vocal and emotional leader of this team.

During every timeout, she would address the entire team while they were sitting on the bench. McKissock was engaged with each and every teammate and was making sure everyone was on the same page at all times. Also, in the huddles between points, you could see her leading many of the conversations being had between points.

This type of senior leadership will be vital for the Gators coming down the stretch. The more chemistry that Florida can create inside their locker room and on the court, the more beneficial it will be for the team.

The Gators will play their first official game of the season on Friday, August 25th. Coach Mary Wise and her squad will travel to Tampa for the Road 2 Tampa Invitational to battle Penn State at 8:00 p.m.

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