COLUMBIA, S.C. - The 12th-ranked Florida volleyball team extended its win streak to seven matches on Saturday afternoon after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks in four sets.
Florida improves to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 in the SEC, while South Carolina falls to 6-5 overall and 0-1 in league play.
After being down 7-2 in the first set, the Gators battled back to claim the frame 25-18. Florida then pulled ahead 2-0 in the match after taking the second set 25-22. South Carolina claimed the third set 25-16, but the Gators responded in the fourth with a 25-19 victory to secure the match.
UF's offensive attack was led by Merritt Beason, who posted an 18-kill effort on Saturday afternoon, on a .394 hitting efficiency. Sofia Victoria followed closely behind with 15 kills and a .444 clip, followed by Marina Markova's 10-kill performance. Bre Kelley rounded out the main Gator scorers with nine kills in the match.
Alexis Stucky led the squad to a .373 clip, dishing out a career-best 48 assists in the four-setter.
As a team, Florida held the Gamecocks to a .259 hitting efficiency, tallying 9.0 blocks at the net. Beason was a force at the net, recording four blocks to lead the way for Florida. Kelley added three on the afternoon, while Victoria, Gabrielle Essix and Stucky posted two apiece.
The Gators were paced in the defensive backcourt by Elli McKissock, who registered eight digs in the match. Beason added seven digs of her own, followed by four apiece from Stucky and Emily Canaan.
Stucky led the way behind the service line, registering a team-high three service aces.
How It Happened
South Carolina started the match on a 5-0 run, forcing Florida to use its first timeout early in the frame. Out of that break, the Gators pulled themselves out of the hole - thanks in part to a 5-0 Beason service run - to knot the set at 7-all. The teams began trading points, but the Gators strung together a 3-0 run behind Stucky's serves to take the 14-11 advantage and force the second South Carolina timeout of the set.
Florida kept it rolling after the timeout, going ahead six at the 17-11 mark. The Gamecocks got within four at 22-18, but the Gators were able to clinch the set 25-18 after a 3-0 service run from Hoyle. The Gators hit .448 in the first frame, led by six kills and a 1.000 clip from Victoria. Kelley followed with four kills of her own, while Markova and Beason each pitched in three in the victory.
Florida grabbed the early 4-2 lead to start the second set and kept at least a two-point advantage until the Gamecocks cut the deficit to one at 8-7. The Gators swung the momentum back in their direction, going on a 7-4 run to take the 15-11 lead into the media timeout.
South Carolina cut UF's lead to just one at the 19-18 mark, but the Gators extended their lead back to three at 21-18 to force a timeout by the Gamecocks. It was a back-and-forth battle out of that break, with South Carolina coming back to knot the frame at 22-22. The Gators closed out the set on a 3-0 run and went ahead 2-0 in the match on a Beason service ace.
Florida hit .448 in the second set, led by six kills from Beason. Victoria pitched in four kills, followed by three apiece from Kelley and Markova. With the third set tied 4-4, the Gamecocks went on a 5-1 run to take the 9-5 advantage and force a Florida timeout.
Out of the break, South Carolina pulled ahead as many as nine points at the 17-8 mark, causing the second Gators' timeout of the frame. Florida cut the deficit to seven at 20-13, but the Gamecocks were able to hold on to win 25-16. Beason posted a team-high four kills in the third set, while Victoria pitched in two.
South Carolina carried over the third set momentum to start the fourth, pulling ahead 5-2, but the Gators responded with a 7-0 run behind the serves of McKissock to take the 9-5 lead. The Gamecocks answered with a run of their own, tying the frame at 10-all. The two squads continued to trade points with neither team taking more than a two-point lead until Florida grabbed the 16-13 advantage.
The Gamecocks pulled back to within two at 16-14, but the Gators were able to keep South Carolina at a distance the rest of the way, winning 25-19 to secure the match. Florida hit .391 in the final frame, led by five kills from Beason. Markova and Victoria each added two kills in the set.
- Alexis Stucky dished out a career-high 48 assists in the match.
- The Gators improve to 62-9 in the all-time series against the Gamecocks Florida is now 11-4 against South Carolina in four-set matches UF improves to 28-6 against the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.
- The Gators improve to 3-1 in four-set matches during the 2022 campaign.
- With her eight digs on Saturday afternoon, Elli McKissock moved into 18th in program history with 965 digs, surpassing Kelley Murphy's 959
Quotes from Coach Wise
"Road wins in this league are hard to come by. We had a gutsy performance by this young group today."
The Gators (10-2, 2-0 SEC) are back in action Sunday to close out the series against South Carolina (6-5, 0-1 SEC). First serve is slated for 2 p.m. on SEC Network +