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Saturday, January 28, 2023
<p>Allie Gregory.</p>

Allie Gregory.

For the second week in a row, Florida’s volleyball team ranks 12th in the nation, according to the most recent AVCA poll.

And although the Gators’ ranking remains consistent, their play doesn't as the team nearly hits the halfway point in their season with 13 games marked off and another 16 to go.

Coach Mary Wise has harped on her team for its lack of consistency over the past couple of weeks. Without any freshmen on her roster, she is pointing fingers at her veterans.

And the players are pointing at themselves, too.

“Our team right now, we’re a team that likes to feel our way into matches before we start playing well,” libero Allie Gregory said after Florida’s 3-1 win against Georgia on Sunday. “We’re working on that…We just have to get a little quicker at it.”

The matchup against the Bulldogs was a good example at the kind of inconsistency the Gators (11-2, 2-0 SEC) are facing two games deep into conference play, with a road game at Kentucky on the schedule for Sunday.

The Gators couldn’t get their feet off the ground in the opening frame against Georgia, leading many to believe the Bulldogs had the match in their pocket.

Florida struggled to find the open court and make adjustments on the right-side, especially against Georgia freshman outside hitter Kacie Evans, who matched her career-high 16 kills on the game.

The Gators came back and won the second set, but struggled again in the third set, trailing 19-11 before getting some momentum to come back and take the set 25-23, up two sets to one against the Bulldogs.

Consistency will be key for Florida as the team takes on a seasoned 15th-ranked Wildcats team (9-4, 2-0 SEC) in Lexington, Kentucky. Two of the four matches the Wildcats have dropped this season have gone to five sets. The Gators have two five-set matches on their resume, as well. However, both ended in wins in Florida’s case.

Florida’s inconsistency also came into play during one of those five-set wins against Long Beach State. The Gators were slow to move on the match, dropping the first set 27-25 before coming back to take the next two frames. The fourth set favored the Beach by six before the fifth set amped up 19-17 in Florida’s favor.

Multiple attack errors and slow adjustments on the block played a role in that early season match.

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“I think it’s what all teams are striving for,” Wise said. “In that, it isn’t easy to perform at your top level in every serve of every rally. 

“So, what you’re trying to do is, you may not be at that level, but can you just avoid the low peaks. And that is what consistency is.”

Follow Mari Faiello on Twitter @faiello_mari. Contact her at mfaiello@alligator.org.

Allie Gregory.

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