GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The third-ranked Florida volleyball team remained unbeaten as the team took down Sacramento State in five sets on Thursday night.
The Gators move to 5-0 for the 17th time in program history and the first since the 2020-21 season.
Sacramento State took the first set in a tight 25-23 battle, but Florida evened the match with a 25-17 victory in the second frame. The Gators took the third set in decisive fashion with a 25-9 win, but the Hornets forced a fifth set with a 25-21 victory in the fourth. Florida used a 7-0 start to claim the fifth frame 15-7 and move to 5-0 on the year.
The duo of AC Fitzpatrick (18) and Kennedy Martin (17) led the way for Florida's offense with a combined 35 kills. Fitzpatrick's 18 kills surpassed her previous career-high of 17, set on Feb. 6, 2021.
Anna Dixon added nine kills of her own with a .429 clip, followed by seven from Sofia Victoria on the outside.
Alexis Stucky dished out 44 assists in the five-setter, leading the team to a .276 hitting percentage.
As a squad, the Gators totaled 14.0 blocks at the net, with Dixon posting a team-high nine. Martin added a career-best eight in the victory, while Gabrielle Essix and Stucky each finished the match with three. Florida held Sacramento State to third-lowest hitting percentage of the year at .138.
Elli McKissock paced the backcourt defense for Florida, recording a season-high 23 digs. Trinity Adams and Stucky each added nine - putting Stucky one dig shy of her third double-double of the season. Emily Canaan and Martin tallied seven digs apiece to round out the performances.
Florida was strong behind the service line, recording 13 aces. Stucky led the way with five - tying her career-high - while Adams also tied her career-best mark with four. McKissock tallied two aces from behind the line, while Martin and Dixon each tallied one.
The Gators are back in action each of the next two days, taking on Clemson on Friday night and Winthrop on Saturday afternoon. The match against the Tigers is set for 7 p.m. on SEC Network, while Florida takes on the Eagles at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
No. 3 Florida (5-0) Sacramento State (5-3)
How It Happened
- Sacramento State grabbed the lead early in the first set, holding at least a one-point lead over the Gators throughout the middle of the frame. The Hornets took the five-point advantage at the 19-14 mark, but Florida fought back to within two at 21-19 to force a Sacramento State timeout. UF came back to tie the set at 23-all, but the Hornets closed on a 2-0 run to take the frame. Martin posted a team-high six kills in the set, followed by two from Dixon and Fitzpatrick.
- The second set was a tight battle from the jump, but Florida used a 5-1 run to take the 15-11 lead into the media timeout. The Gators continued to grow their lead, taking the seven-point advantage at 23-16 to force the Hornets to use their final timeout of the frame. Out of the break, Florida went on to even the match with a 25-17 win in the second. UF hit .424 in the second set, led by six kills apiece from Martin and Fitzpatrick.
- The third set was all Gators, with Florida limiting the Hornets to just single digits. UF started on a 7-0 run behind the serves of McKissock. Sacramento State would pull within five at 11-6, but after a Stucky service run, Florida found itself up 20-7. The Hornets got two back, but the Gators closed on a 5-0 run to win the set 25-9. The Gators hit .250 in the third set, while holding the Hornets to a -.125 clip. Fitzpatrick led the way with four kills.
- The teams traded points throughout the fourth set, with the largest lead being three at 4-1. From that point on, the teams traded points, with neither holding more than a one-point margin until the Hornets went ahead two at the 19-17 mark. Sacramento State used a 3-1 run to open up the four-point lead at 22-18, but the Gators notched back-to-back scores to pull within two and force the timeout by the Hornets. Out of the break, Sacramento State outscored Florida 3-1 to force a fifth set. The fourth set saw 15 tied scores, with Martin and Fitzpatrick each registering three kills in the frame.
- Florida got off to the hot start in the fifth set behind the serves of McKissock, taking the 7-0 lead. The Hornets pulled within four at the 9-5 mark, but the Gators closed out on a 6-3 run to remain undefeated in the 2023 campaign. The Gators hit .571 in the frame, led by three kills from Fitzpatrick and two from Martin.
- AC Fitzpatrick posted a career-high 18 kills in the match, surpassing her previous career-high of 17 (set at Penn State)
- Kennedy Martin registered a career-high eight blocks in the match
- Alexis Stucky tied her career-high with five service aces on the night
- Trinity Adams tied her career-best with four service aces on the night
- With the victory, the Gators move to 5-0 for the 17th time in program history and for the first time since the 2020-21 season
- Florida improves to 2-0 against Sacramento State in the all-time series
- UF moves to 1-0 against the Hornets in five-set matches
- Florida improves to 1-0 against Sacramento State in Gainesville, Fla.
- The Gators are now 2-0 in five-set matches during the 2023 campaign
- The Gators are back in action each of the next two days, taking on Clemson on Friday night and Winthrop on Saturday afternoon
- The match against the Tigers is set for 7 p.m. on SEC Network
- Florida takes on the Eagles at 3 p.m. on Saturday (no stream)