The Florida Gators Volleyball team hosted the Tennessee Volunteers in an SEC showdown at the O’Dome Friday. The matchup came down to the wire in thrilling five set fashion as the Volunteers were able to come out victorious.
Florida moves to 14-6 overall on the season and 6-5 in conference play.
The Gators fell behind early in the first set of the match 6-2. Freshman Kennedy Martin quickly had an answer for UF posting back-to-back kills on the way to taking a 12-9 lead. The Volunteers refused to back down in set one. They went on a 4-0 run to regain the lead 15-13 to force a Florida timeout.
Martin continued to put her talents on display throughout an impressive first set performance. Her four kills and two aces helped the Gators secure a 25-23 win in the opening set.
The Volunteers got off to a strong start in the second set gaining a 9-5 advantage. They never looked back as UT held the lead for the entirety of the second set as they cruised to a 25-14 victory.
Moving to the third set, senior AC Fitzpatrick had the Gators offense cooking early in the set for a 6-5 lead. Sofia Victoria followed her lead tallying three straight kills to extend the UF lead to 13-7. The Gators pushed Tennessee to set point before Fitzpatrick recorded an ace to edge the Volunteers 25-20.
The fourth set was a close battle as neither team could gain much of an advantage. The lead didn’t grow to more than two until Tennessee went on a 3-0 run to lead 13-10. They carried their momentum to set point before earning a 25-23 victory to even the match 2-2.
The fifth and final set featured a winner take all first-to-15 affair. The Vols offense was able to catch fire as they found themselves with a 9-6 lead. They continued to execute at a high level down the stretch to secure the match victory after winning the fifth set 15-13.
Florida’s offense was led by Martin who posted a match-high 28 kills. Following her lead was Sofia Victoria with 14.
Nnedi Okammor held things down on the defensive side of the net for UF. She posted a team-high five blocks in her efforts Friday.
Senior Elli McKissock continues to climb her way up Florida’s all-time digs list as she posted 24 against Tennessee.
The Gators will be back in action Sunday as they play host to the Kentucky Wildcats. First serve is slated for 3 p.m. at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.
Grad transfer Kennedy Muff facilitated the Gators offense with an impressive 60 assists.