COLUMBIA, S.C. - The No. 4 Florida volleyball team defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks in four sets on Sunday afternoon at the Carolina Volleyball Center.
The Gators improve to 11-2 on the year and 3-1 in SEC play, while South Carolina drops to 6-7 in the 2023 campaign and 0-4 in the SEC.
Florida took the first set of the afternoon 25-19, then followed with another 25-19 victory in the second frame. The Gamecocks responded with a 25-23 win in the third, but UF clinched the match with a score of 25-20 in the final set.
The Gators' offense attack was led by Kennedy Martin, who posted a 15-kill effort on the afternoon. AC Fitzpatrick and Sofia Victoria each pitched in 13 kills, with clips of .400 and .355 respectively, in the win.
Setter Kennedy Muff dished out 44 assists in the four-setter, while leading the team to a .347 clip. That marks Florida's third-highest hitting percentage of the year.
As a squad, Florida tallied 13.0 blocks on the afternoon. Anna Dixon posted a team-high seven blocks, followed by six from Nnedi Okammor. Martin added five blocks of her own in the match, while Victoria pitched in three.
Elli McKissock led the backcourt defense on Sunday afternoon, posting 12 digs. Martin added eight of her own in the victory, while Trinity Adams (4) and Victoria (4) combined for eight.
Behind the service line, the Gators registered seven aces, led by two apiece from Adams and Muff. McKissock, Dixon and Emily Canaan each tallied one ace on the day.
The Gators are back in action on Friday, Oct. 6, when Florida hosts No. 24 Auburn in Exactech Arena. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. on SEC +. Florida then hosts Alabama on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 1 p.m. on SEC +
No. 4 Florida (11-2, 3-1 SEC)
South Carolina (6-7, 0-4 SEC)
How It Happened
- The first set was a tight battle to start, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead through the media timeout. It was the Gators that took the 15-14 advantage into the break following a Victoria kill. Out of the timeout, Florida grew its lead to five at the 21-16 mark, thanks in part to back-to-back aces from Adams. The Gamecocks pulled back to within three at 22-19, but Florida closed with a 3-0 run to take the first set. UF hit a stellar .577 in the first frame, led by seven kills from Martin.
- With South Carolina leading 2-1 in the second set, the Gators used a 4-0 run behind the serves of Martin to grab the 5-2 lead. The Gamecocks answered with a 3-0 run to pull back within one at the 8-7 mark, but Florida took the four-point advantage at 14-10 to force a timeout by South Carolina. Following the timeout, the Gators pulled ahead six at 17-11 and continued to keep the Gamecocks at a distance, forcing SC's second timeout of the frame at 20-14. South Carolina cut Florida's lead to just three at 20-17, but the Gators closed the set on a 5-2 run to win 25-19. Florida tallied six blocks in the second led, led by three apiece from Okammor and Dixon. Martin and Victoria each added two blocks of their own in the frame.
- The third set was very similar to the first, with it being back-and-forth from the start. Neither side led by more than two throughout the middle of the frame. This time though, it was South Carolina that took the 15-14 lead into the media timeout. Out of the break, the Gamecocks pulled ahead three at 19-16 to force Florida to use its first timeout of the frame. The Gators responded with a run of their immediately after, taking the one-point lead at 21-20 after a 5-1 spurt. South Carolina responded with its own run to close out the set with a 25-23 win. Florida was led by a five-kill performance from Fitzpatrick in the third set, while Victoria and Dixon each added three.
- The beginning of the fourth set belonged to the Gators, with Florida taking the 8-3 lead behind a Dixon service run. UF continued to grow its lead, pulling ahead 11-4 to force South Carolina to use its second timeout of the frame. Following the break, the momentum belonged to Florida, with the Gators pulling ahead 10 at the 19-9 lead. South Carolina chipped away, cutting the deficit to four at the 20-16 mark. The closest the Gamecocks would get the rest of the way was within three, but Florida held on for the 25-20 victory to secure the match. Florida hit .300 in the final set, led by four kills apiece from Fitzpatrick, Martin and Victoria.
- Kennedy Martin continued her streak of matches with at least 10 kills, moving to 13-straight
- AC Fitzpatrick has recorded at least 10 kills in eight matches, including the last seven-straight
- Sofia Victoria posted 13 kills in the match, bringing her to six double-digit kill matches this season and four consecutive matches
- Elli McKissock has tallied at least 10 digs in 11 of the 13 matches this season, including the last 10-straight
- The .347 clip was the third-best hitting percentage of the year for the Gators
- The Gators improve to 63-10 against the Gamecocks, including a 55-4 record under Mary Wise
- Florida is now 12-4 against South Carolina in four-set matches
- The Gators improve to 29-7 against the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.
- UF improves to 2-0 in four-set matches during the 2023 campaign
- Florida improves to 6-1 in matches on national TV this season 20
- The Gators are back in action on Friday, when Florida hosts No. 24 Auburn in Exactech Arena
- First serve is slated for 7 p.m. on SEC + Florida then hosts Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. on SEC +