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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

From the first point of the match, you could tell it was not going to be South Carolina's night.

Gamecocks' setter Petra Lorenzi served the first ball squarely into the net, and the Gators had a lead they would never surrender.

UF swept South Carolina (30-17, 30-18, 30-19) in a quick match Wednesday night, extending its winning streak to 16 games. The win ties the 1987 Gators squad for the second-best start in team history.

UF was on cruise control for most of the night, ending the match on a back-row kill from freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers.

"We've been practicing back-row attacks a lot during practice because we want them to become a part of our offense," Rivers said. "To end it and win a long rally felt great."

Marcie Hampton, who has raised her game in recent weeks, finished the match with a team-high 16 kills and a career-high .714 hitting percentage.

It didn't go unnoticed by her teammates.

"They're amazing. Her and Amber (McCray) have been playing incredible," Rivers said. "You can learn a lot from both of them."

Middle blocker Kelsey Bowers, who sat out against Tennessee with lower back problems on Sunday, made an appearance in game two, getting a kill almost immediately after stepping onto the court. She was also responsible for the kill that ended the game.

"(We're) very encouraged," UF coach Mary Wise said. "We won't hesitate to play her Monday night."

WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING: Alli Cecchini sat on the bench while wearing a neck brace Wednesday night. The sophomore setter injured herself walking into a low-hanging post outside the football practice facility earlier in the day, Wise said.

Wise did not think the injury was serious, but was unsure if Cecchini would play Friday at Arkansas.

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"(It's) nothing major," Wise said. "I hope that she'll be fine tomorrow."

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