The Florida Gators Volleyball team showed up to Tuscaloosa, Alabama ready to put their talents on display. Freshman Kennedy Martin and senior AC Fitzpatrick led the Gators to the road victory in three tightly-contested sets.
UF improves to 16-7 on the season and and 8-6 in conference play.
The opening set was a battle. Florida took the first frame 25-23 after 12 combined lead changes. The Gators found their rhythm en route to an 8-0 run that propelled them to a 17-15 lead. A kill from Martin during set point secured the 1-0 lead in the match for Florida.
The Gators looked to carry their momentum to the second set. The team got out to an early 6-2 lead in the frame. Alabama fought back with two separate 3-0 runs throughout the set to grab a 12-11 lead. Fitzpatrick responded with a kill to tie the score on the next point. Martin capped off the set with back-to-back kills to give Florida a 25-20 victory in set two.
In the third and final set, UF slammed the door shut with a 25-22 victory. They flashed their defensive skills early in the frame with back-to-back blocks from Nnedi Okammor and Sofia Victoria to give the Gators a 3-0 edge. Florida totaled five service errors which allowed the Crimson Tide to creep back into the set and tie the score at 16 apiece.
The score was tied four more times until two clutch kills from Fitzpatrick gave the Gators a 22-20 advantage. Alabama was forced to call a timeout but it was not enough to slow down the Florida’s presence at the net defensively. Gabbi Essix and Kennedy Muff forced match point after posting a timely block. Fitzpatrick capped off the 3-0 sweep with a huge kill to seal the 25-23 win in the third set.
The Florida offense was led by Martin with 18 kills and Fitzpatrick just behind her with 17 at a .517 clip. Victoria also contributed six kills of her own respectively.
Muff dished out a team-high 38 assists in Sunday’s sweep. Trinity Adams tallied two assists of her own in the win.
On the defensive side of the net, the Gators tallied eight kills in the matchup. Essix led the way tallying six blocks to lead the way for UF.
Elli McKissock roamed the backcourt all night for the Gators as she posted a team-high 15 digs. Her efforts moved her to second place on the program’s all time digs leader list with 1,562. The rest of Florida’s backcourt was featured by Emily Canaan with with 11 digs and Muff with 9.
The Gators will continue their road trip as the team heads to Columbia, Missouri on Friday to battle the Missouri Tigers. First serve will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center.