TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The third-ranked Florida volleyball team won a thrilling five-set match over Florida State on Tuesday night at Tully Gymnasium.
Florida improves to 8-0 on the season, while Florida State drops to 5-4. The Gators are 8-0 to start the season for the sixth time in program history.
Florida State claimed the first set 25-18, but Florida responded with the 25-22 victory in the second. The Seminoles won a tightly-contested 25-23 third frame, but the Gators answered with a 25-17 win in the fourth. Florida claimed the match with an extra-points 16-14 victory in the fifth.
Florida was led on the offensive front by a 25-kill performance from Kennedy Martin. AC Fitzpatrick added a career-high 22 in the match with a .404 clip, while Sofia Victoria registered 10 in the five-setter. Rounding out the performances was Anna Dixon, who posted seven kills in the win.
Alexis Stucky dished out 50 assists in the match, leading the team to a .276 hitting percentage. Elli McKissock also added eight assists on the night.
The Gators tallied 10.0 blocks at the net, led by five from Nnedi Okammor. Gabrielle Essix added four blocks of her own, while Fitzpatrick posted three.
Florida's backcourt defense was spread, with Trinity Adams and McKissock each recording a team-high 10. Stucky and Martin both tallied nine digs in the victory.
Martin led Florida behind the service line, posting three aces, while four different Gators each recorded 1: Stucky, Emily Canaan, Adams and McKissock.
How It Happened
The Seminoles took the 8-2 lead early in the first set, forcing Florida to use its first timeout. The Gators pulled back to within three at 11-8, but Florida State used a 4-0 run to gain the seven-point lead.
The Seminoles continued to keep the Gators at a distance, going up eight at the 18-10 mark. Florida chipped away to just a five-point deficit at 23-18, but FSU held on for the 25-18 victory. Kennedy Martin led the way with five kills in the first frame, followed by three from Sofia Victoria.
With the second tied at 4-all, Florida used a 3-0 run to grab the 7-4 lead. The Gators continued to hold at least a two-point lead, until a 3-0 run by the Seminoles pulled them to within one and forced the UF timeout.
Out of the break, FSU took its first lead of the frame at 13-12, but Florida responded to knot the set at 13-all. From that point on, the teams traded points until the Gators separated themselves with a two-point lead at 22-20. Florida went on to win the set 25-22 and tie the match at 1-1.
The Gators hit .400 in the second set, led by five kills apiece from Martin and Fitzpatrick.
The Seminoles grabbed the 12-8 lead in the third set, but Florida answered with a 4-0 run to knot the frame and force an FSU timeout. Following the break, it was back-and-forth, but Florida State used a 3-0 run with the set tied 16-all.
The Gators fought all the way back to tie the game at 20-20, but with the Seminoles grabbing the one-point lead at 23-22, Florida decided to use its final timeout. FSU closed with a 2-1 run to take the 2-1 match lead. Fitzpatrick led the way with seven kills in the set, followed by Martin's five.
The fourth set began with a Gators run, with Florida taking the 7-3 lead. Florida kept FSU at an arm's length, then used a 4-0 run behind the serves of Adams to take the six-point lead at 15-9.
The Seminoles used a spurt of their own, cutting Florida's lead to four at 19-15, but closed out on a 6-2 run to force a deciding fifth set. The Gators hit .385 in the set, while holding FSU to a .083 clip. Martin registered six kills, while Fitzpatrick added three.
In the winner-take-all fifth set, Florida pulled ahead three at the 6-3 mark and although the Seminoles pulled to within just one at 6-5, the Gators held the three-point lead at the switch.
Florida State battled its way out of the hole, taking its first lead of the set at 10-9 after a 3-0 run. The Gators swung the momentum back in their direction, taking the two-point advantage at the 13-11 mark. Florida State answered right back, tying the fifth frame at 13-all to force UF to use its last timeout. The Seminoles tied the frame at 14-all, but back-to-back Victoria kills secured the victory for Florida.
- The Gators hit .310 in the final set, led by five kills from Fitzpatrick and four from Martin.
- Fitzpatrick set a new career-high in kills, finishing the match with 22 That surpassed her previous career-best of 18, set at the Gators Invitational over the weekend.
- The Gators 8-0 to start the season for the sixth time in program history (1987, 1995, 1997, 2007, 2017, 2023).
- Florida improves to 45-21 against Florida State in the all-time series (38-7 under Wise).
- UF improves to 7-8 in five-set matches against the Seminoles.
- Florida is now 16-11 against FSU in Tallahassee, Fla.
- The Gators are now 101-7 against Florida schools under Mary Wise.
- Florida is 3-0 in five-set matches during the 2023 campaign.
The Gators welcome the top-ranked Badgers to Gainesville on Sunday afternoon for a Top-3 battle. First serve is slated for 3 p.m. on ESPN.