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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Just looking at the stats from Friday's match, it would seem as if the Gators cruised to an easy three-set victory.

But that was far from the truth as No.5 Florida (7-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) needed all five sets to pull out its first SEC win against Ole Miss (6-5,0-1) by a score of (21-25, 25-16, 25-17,26-28,15-11).

The Gators racked up 18 more kills than their opponent and also had 25 more digs. But UF's 14 service errors helped even the playing field.

"The difference is right now for whatever reason, this team at this point of the season just continues to make too many errors," UF coach Mary Wise said. "Statistically it shouldn't have been close."

However, sophomore setter Kelly Murphy helped offset most of those mistakes. She locked up her eighth career triple-double in the third set. Murphy finished with 20 kills, 32 assists and 16 digs. She is the only player with a triple double in the SEC this season, and this one was her second of the year.

She wasn't the only one that enjoyed a memorable night.

Senior libero Elyse Cusack moved into sole possession of third-place on the all-time SEC digs list with her fifth dig of the night, she ended the match with 22.

This match is already the third five-set match the team has had to play in, which raises a red flag for Wise. Errors by the Gators have helped prolong all of those games.

"I would have liked to have thought we would have learned by now," she said. "Especially the way we gave away two sets to FSU earlier in the season, it's just mind boggling."

But UF will have to learn fast if it hopes to win the second game of this quick two-game SEC road trip. The team will travel to face Arkansas (7-51-0) at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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