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Friday, December 01, 2023
Gators look to continue lucky streak on Halloween
Gators look to continue lucky streak on Halloween

Tonight, in a rare midweek match, UF plays a South Carolina team (11-12, 4-10 Southeastern Conference) that should be frightened to face the No. 10 Gators (20-1, SEC 13-1).

Since Mary Wise became the coach in 1991, UF has won seven of its eight matches on Halloween. The only loss came in a sweep at the hands of Florida State in 1994.

Current seniors have fond memories of a Halloween sweep over Mississippi State in 2004, and two seniors have pleasant non-volleyball recollections Halloweens earlier than that.

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton?s favorite Halloween costume as a child was the blue, puffy-leg getup of Princess Jasmine from the Disney movie BAladdin.C

BI was really excited about it, but it was really, really cold outside,C she said. BSo I had to wear a jacket over my costume, and that was devastating. … It was just heartbreaking. I really loved my costume.C

Senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth also had her share of costumes growing up, though she admitted she is more into Thanksgiving and Christmas than Halloween. She usually spends Halloween night at her computer, handing out candy when someone rings her doorbell.

The only costume she can remember is when her mother dressed her up as a clown one year.

BI probably was a clown back then,C Killingsworth said.

Though they won?t be wearing any costumes tonight in South Carolina, they still get to dress up for the occasion a little.

The team will be wearing its orange-and-black jerseys, Hampton said.

The Gators learned from their loss at South Carolina last year - the only SEC venue where they lost - and plan to stay concentrated on volleyball.

Tonight will be the team?s second and last Wednesday home match of the season.

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Last time, the Wednesday match was followed by a loss to Arkansas in a Friday match.

This week, the Gators will not play again until a Sunday match against that same Razorbacks team.

The midweek match can cause problems for the team?s rhythm, but the coaches are not going to let that happen.

BThe coaches do a really good job of keeping us on a similar schedule no matter where we are when we actually get there,C Hampton said. BWe need to make sure that?s not a factor when we get ready to play.C

What will be a factor is South Carolina?s home atmosphere.

BAny time you play on the road, it?s tough,C Hampton said. BAnd then you play in a smaller gym, the crowd?s right on you and the facility?s pretty tight. We?re going to have our work cut out for us.C

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