GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The third-seeded Florida volleyball team punched its ticket to the Regional Semifinal after topping the sixth-seeded Iowa State Cyclones in straight sets on Saturday night in Exactech Arena.
The Gators advance to their 29th Regional Semifinal in program history, moving to 81-32 overall in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida improves to 25-5 on the year, while Iowa State's season ends with a 20-12 record and a 10-6 record in the Big 12.
UF won the first set 25-19 to start off the Second Round match and then followed with a come-from-behind 25-23 victory in the second set. Florida closed out the match with a 25-14 win in the final frame.
Florida was led on the offensive front by Merritt Beason and Marina Markova, who each posted 12 kills in the victory. Sofia Victoria pitched in an eight-kill performance on the night, while Alexis Stucky (5) and Bre Kelley (4) combined for nine.
Rookie setter Stucky led the team to a .279 hitting efficiency in the match, dishing out 33 assists in the process. She paired that with a five-kill, six-dig, three-block performance.
Florida had a night at the net, tallying 9.0 blocks in the three-setter, while holding the Cyclones to a .110 clip - the 14th opponent the Gators have kept under .150 this season. Gabrielle Essix led the way with six blocks, followed by three blocks apiece from Beason, Kelley and Stucky.
For the 28th time this season, Elli McKissock led the Gators' backcourt, coming up with 17 digs in the victory. Beason added 11 for her fifth double-double of the season, followed by 10 from Emily Canaan. Trinity Adams registered eight in the match to help secure the victory.
The Gators recorded a total of seven aces on the night, led by three from McKissock. Canaan and Adams each added two in the victory.
Florida is set to play No. 2 seed Pittsburgh in the Round of 16 on Thursday, Dec. 8. No. 1 seed Wisconsin will serve as host of the Regional Site.
3-seed Florida (25-5, 15-3 SEC)
6-seed Iowa State (20-12, 10-6 Big 12)
How It Happened
- Florida jumped out to an 8-3 lead early in the first thanks in part to a 4-0 run behind the serves of Trinity Adams to force a timeout by the Cyclones. Following the timeout, the Gators used another 4-0 run, this time behind the serves of Stucky to pull ahead 13-6. Florida continued to hold at least the five-point advantage through the end of the set, winning the frame 25-19. Florida hit .357 in the first set, with Markova posting a team-high four kills, followed by three from Kelley.
- Iowa State started off the second set with a 6-1 run, but the Gators chipped the lead to just one at the 11-10 mark. The Cyclones went on 5-2 spurt to grab the four-point advantage at 16-12, but once again Florida would not bow out, cutting the deficit to one at 18-17 to force an ISU timeout. Out of the break, the Gators tied it up at 19-all and Florida took its first lead of the frame at the 21-20 mark. Iowa State swung the lead back in its direction at 22-21, but Florida used a 3-0 run to take the 24-22 lead. The Cyclones got one back, but the Gators won 25-23 to pull ahead 2-0 in the match. Florida hit .257 in the second set, led by five kills from Beason. Victoria added four in the frame, while Markova pitched in three.
- The momentum to start the third set belonged to the Gators, with Florida taking the 11-5 lead to force a timeout from the Cyclones. The Gators took as many as a 10-point lead at 18-8 before Iowa State chipped the deficit to seven at 20-13, but Florida closed the match with a 5-1 run to advance to the round of 16. Beason and Markova each recorded five kills in the final set to secure the victory for Florida.
- Florida secures a spot in the program's 29th Regional Semifinal
- The Gators improve to 81-32 (.717) in the NCAA Tournament, including an 80-31 (.721) record under Mary Wise
- Wise's 80 wins put her fifth in NCAA Division I history, surpassing Dave Shoji (Hawaii)
- Marina Markova recorded 12 kills in the match, her 21st match in double-digit kills
- Merritt Beason recorded 12 kills in the match, her 20th match in double-digit kills Beason also registered her fifth double-double of the year
- Elli McKissock finished the night with 17 digs, her 25th match in double-figure digs
- Florida is now 4-1 in the all-time series against the Cyclones, including a 1-0 record in the NCAA Tournament
- UF improves to 2-0 in three-set matches against ISU
- The Gators are now 2-1 against the Cyclones in Gainesville, Fla.
- Florida remains undefeated in Saturday matches, moving to 11-0 on the year
- The Gators improve to 15-2 in three-set matches during the 2022 campaign
Florida is set to play No. 2 seed Pittsburgh in the Round of 16 on Thursday, Dec. 8 If all seeds are to hold, Wisconsin will serve as host of the Regional Site