After the Gators were swept in a regular-season conference match for the first time under coach Mary Wise, nobody knew how they would respond.
But No. 9 Florida (14-3, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) capped off a two-win weekend with a dominant performance against Georgia (11-9, 2-7 SEC), answering that question.
The Gators dismantled the Bulldogs on Sunday in Athens, Ga., 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-11).
Whether they were attacking or defending, the Bulldogs could not keep up. UF had no problem finding holes in the defense as it put up a hitting percentage of .368 for the match, while holding Georgia to a .087 hitting efficiency. The Gators also won the blocking battle 11.5-2 and dug up 11 more balls.
"We played this entire match at the right intensity level and the right effort level," Wise said. "There were very few easy kills for Georgia and I thought the offense and the defense were at a very high level today."
In the first set Georgia was able to keep it close and finish with a .448 hitting efficiency, but UF clamped down in the second and third sets as it blocked a combined nine balls. Georgia could only manage an efficiency of zero and -.114 in those respective sets.
"Good things happen when we block balls," Wise said. "We've worked so hard all season long on blocking and our players have really bought into that."
Junior setter Brynja Rodgers finished with a team-high 24 assists and has started to look a lot more comfortable in the offense after transferring from New Mexico State in the offseason.
"I thought it was as good a setting performance that she has had," Wise said. "All of Brynja's hitters had such great looks and it's fun watching her learn to set those hitters."
One of the players who benefited from Brynja's performance was sophomore setter Kelly Murphy. She just missed a triple-double Sunday with 15 kills, 16 assists and 7 digs.
But she did not fall short Friday as she racked up her fifth triple-double of the season in a three-set win against Auburn (12-8, 4-5 SEC). She racked up 11 kills, 19 assists and 12 digs as the Gators handed the Tigers a loss 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-21).
After only starting one match so far this season, sophomore opposite hitter Callie Rivers gave UF a lift over the weekend. She started both of the matches and tallied up a season-high ten kills and only one error Friday. On Sunday, Rivers finished the match with five block assists.
"The key is that she is scoring points for us," Wise said. "If we can get three points per game out of Callie - that would be huge for us. She doesn't have to lead us in kills."
With these two wins the Gators finished what Wise called the toughest stretch of the season with a 4-2 record.