The Gators volleyball team announced its 28-game schedule for the 2021 season.
Florida hopes to build off its Elite Eight run from a season ago before it ran into the No. 1 seed Wisconsin Badgers. UF finished its 2020-2021 campaign 21-4.
Coach Mary Wise continued her philosophy of scheduling difficult non-conference opponents. Florida faces Stanford, the 2019 national champion, on Aug. 31 before the team returns to the O’Connell Center for a matchup versus Minnesota on Sept. 5. UF takes on Baylor the following weekend for a double-header in the O’Dome. The squad will then head north on I-75 to take on FSU Sept. 15.
Florida hits the road again the last weekend of the season, heading to the Bluegrass State for a marquee matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats. The double-header will likely determine the SEC champion, as Florida and Kentucky have won each of the past four conference titles.
The Gators also return most of their key contributors, including setter Marlie Monserez, middle blockers Lauren Dooley and Lauren Forte and outside hitters T’ara Ceasar and Thayer Hall.
The Florida program also lost a slew of players to the NCAA transfer portal. Outside hitter and serve expert Paige Hammons transferred to USC. Defensive specialist and libero Paula Cerame announced that she would suit up for Indiana next season. Riley Fischer, another defensive specialist, stayed within the SEC and transferred to Ole Miss, as did outside hitter Holly Carlton, who left for LSU to play beach volleyball. Right-side hitter Haley Warner left the Gators for Kansas State.
Wise adds four freshmen in an attempt to supplant the losses Florida suffered.
Contact Zachary Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber.