During typical times, the O’Connell Center would be packed in mid-September with fans hoping to see coach Mary Wise and the team finally win that elusive national championship they’ve been seeking for years.
Instead, the team has spent the past few months waiting for the ball to drop and find out when it would hit the court after a delayed start to its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, it finally got its answer.
The 2020 Gators volleyball season will kick off on Wednesday Oct. 21 from Auburn, Alabama, at 8 p.m. UF will play two games against Auburn – on the 21st and 22nd – before its home opener against Alabama on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. After two games against the Tide, Florida will play a pair at South Carolina on Nov. 11 and 12 before coming back to Gainesville to close out against Georgia on Nov. 20 and 21.
The eight game, conference-only schedule will see the Gators take on the four closest SEC schools to Gainesville and will be a full 21 games shorter than the 2019 season.
On Aug. 27, the SEC had announced that the volleyball season would begin on Oct. 16 and consist of eight conference games over a six-week span, with the same opponent being played twice in the same weekend.
The 2020-21 season will also include a spring portion as well, the schedule of which will be announced at a later date. Last month, the NCAA announced the postponement of all fall championships except for football. Reports are that the NCAA is hoping to conduct these championships in the spring.
All four teams on Florida’s schedule are teams it has played well against in the past, having a combined 220-18 record including a perfect 47-0 against Alabama.
It is unclear at the moment how many, if any, fans will be in attendance for these matches.
Contact Noah Ram at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Noah_ram1.
The Gators celebrate a successful play at home against Texas A&M last year. This season, Florida will only play the four SEC schools it's closest to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noah is a third year journalism-sports and media student from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He has been with The Alligator since Spring 2019 and has covered men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics and volleyball. When he isn’t on his beat, Noah is usually sadden over his beloved South Florida sports teams, such as the Heat and Dolphins.