Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

The Auburn Tigers pushed the Florida Gators to match point in the fifth set Friday night. The fifth set was tied 15-15 in a win-by-two scenario, UF rallied to get two straight points and with the match.

The Gators went into the match remaining the No. 3 ranked team in the nation. Florida captured their fist conference win of the season as SEC action began Friday.

Auburn won the opening set of the match in impressive fashion. Although the Gators found themselves with an early 8-7, Auburn fought back to grab a 13-9 lead. The Tigers never lost that lead for the remainder of the set as they cruised to a 25-20 victory. Kennedy Martin chipped in four kills during set one.

The second set was much more competitive. Florida scratched and clawed for a 26-24 victory. The Gators once saw themselves with a 21-15 deficit in the set. However, the team stayed together to comeback and make the set come down to set point. After they fought all the way back to tie the score 24-24, Florida scored two-straight points secured the set two win 26-24.

In the third set, Auburn once again saw themselves with a lead early. This was a consistent theme throughout the match. After the Gators fell behind 12-7 in the set, they battled back to decrease their deficit to just two. The Tigers then continued to look solid as saw their lead grow back to 21-17. Florida fought back to tie the third set 24-24 until Auburn closed out the set with two-straight points to win 26-24.

Moving to the fourth set, a serving run by Emily Canaan lifted the Gators. The team found themselves in a grove early in the set to gain an 11-7 advantage. Auburn cut the lead down to just one after the score moved to 16-15. Then, the Gators created some distance when their lead grew to 23-16. Leading to a 25-19 win in set four.

The fifth set was a first-to-fifteen scenario. The Gators came out firing on all cylinders in the final set as they settled into a 4-1 lead. Auburn was competitive the entire match and it continued again in the fifth set. The Tigers forced Florida to call a timeout as they came back to take a 10-8 lead. But Sofia Victoria and Martin put the team on their shoulders and led the final push for Florida on their way to a 17-15 win.

Martin led the Gators offensively with 16 kills. AC Fitzpatrick was just behind Martin on the stat sheet with 15 kills. Victoria also contributed an impressive performance posting 13 kills of her own.

Kennedy Muff had her first start of the season at the setter position. After the news broke earlier this week about Alexis Stucky being out for the season, Muff stepped in and performed well. She tallied 46 assists in the team’s victory.

Elli McKissock led the backcourt for the Gators on the defensive end. She led the team in digs with 15 and moved to seventh all time in program history. Martin and Trinity Adams each added 12 kills in the match.

The Gators posted 11 blocks at the net as a team Friday night. Nnedi Okammor produced a season high seven kills for herself in the match.

Florida will be back in action as SEC play continues for the team Sunday afternoon. The team will host Georgia at 7 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida. The match will be aired on the SEC Network.

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