Despite the cancellation of the Active Ankle Challenge, which included matches against No. 23 Michigan State, American and North Carolina Greensboro, the No. 3 Gators found a way to be productive.
“We understand that there are a lot of people in Florida who had it a whole lot worse than we did,” coach Mary Wise said Wednesday.
Redshirt junior Allie Monserez said the team took shelter together while the storm passed through Gainesville.
“We all were at the dorms and the upperclassmen who were living off campus came back,” Monserez said. “I stayed with Morgyn (Greer) and Chanelle (Hargreaves) and we all played Monopoly and Life, and those games take forever. But we luckily didn’t lose any power.”
The tournament was originally scheduled for this past Friday and Saturday.
Last Wednesday, it was announced that the Active Ankle Challenge was reduced to only Florida-Michigan State, but that matchup of ranked opponents was scrapped, as well.
The Sept. 12 match against Florida State in Gainesville was rescheduled for Sept. 19.
“It wasn’t until (Michigan State) was here that we found out they had to cancel the match,” Wise said.
Despite the last-minute cancellation, the Gators were able to scrimmage with the Spartans.
“(My) number one takeaway is that it would have been a great match,” Wise said.
“I would have loved to play,” Caroline Knop said. The senior added that scrimmaging with Michigan State was a good test.
The two teams even got together for a post-scrimmage meal.
When asked about the Gator Invitational coming up on Friday and Saturday, Knop made it clear that the team wasn’t taking any opponents lightly.
When referring to her competition, Florida A&M, Northern Kentucky and Lipscomb, Knop said the matchups were “three games this weekend against three good teams.”
“I think we’re all itching to get back on the court,” she added. “We’re excited for the weekend.”
The Gators will have had almost two weeks since their last match when they face the Rattlers on Friday.
Wise said what’s most important in the upcoming five-day, four-team slate is the quick turnaround against multiple teams.
“It’s a great opportunity going in and playing this many opponents,” Wise said. “It’s what you have to do in the NCAA Tournament, playing back-to-back matches.”
The Gators will have five days to prepare for their SEC opener, at Arkansas, after taking on FSU at home.
“(Arkansas) is a tough place to play with maybe the hottest hitter (redshirt senior Pilar Victoria) in volleyball right now,” Wise said.
Victoria leads the SEC and NCAA with 6.43 kills per set.
Wise and her team are trying to stay focused, however.
“The thing about us is that we’re just trying to be the best versions of ourselves. Can we as Florida get better?” Knop said. “Did we do the things we worked on in practice all week? Did we get better at those things?”
The Gators will get a chance to answer those questions soon as they come up on the thick of the season.