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Saturday, October 16, 2021

No. 14 Gators host Coastal Carolina in final matches before conference play

Florida carries the weight of three straight losses into this weekend’s two-match series

<p>Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise stands with her team in a huddle.</p>

Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise stands with her team in a huddle.

Florida’s volleyball team (4-4) is in a funk. It won only two sets through its last three matches and needs to rediscover its groove before Southeastern Conference play begins. 

The Gators get a final chance at momentum this weekend when they host the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers for a two-match series, marking the end of non-conference play. 

On Wednesday, Florida was on the road in Tallahassee taking on its rival Florida State. The Gators dropped the match, their third in a row, 3-1 (24-26, 25-15, 25-19, 25-20). Sophomore Sofia Victoria provided the only highlight of the loss. In her first start of the season, the outside hitter was responsible for 24 kills and ended the match with a .241 hitting percentage. 

The Chanticleers (6-2) come into this weekend after going undefeated in their host event, the Chanticleer Classic, including wins over East Carolina, Radford and North Carolina Wilmington. 

Heading into the matches with Florida, Coastal Carolina head coach Jozsef Forman sits one win away from his 250th career victory. With an upset on Saturday or Sunday, he can eclipse that milestone. 

This series marks the first time in program history that Florida and Coastal Carolina will meet on the court. 

While the Gators’ record sits at even .500, the team still ranks inside the top-20 in the country in hitting percentage at .280. Middle blocker Lauren Forte ranks fifth nationally with a .494 hitting percentage to pace the team. Visiting Coastal Carolina comes in 138th with a hitting percentage of .219.  

Everyone with a valid ticket to Saturday’s showdown between the the No. 11 Florida Gators football team and No. 1 Alabama will get free general admission access to both matches against Coastal Carolina. 

Saturday’s match begins at 12 p.m., while Sunday’s first serve is set at 1 p.m. Both will be available to stream live on SEC Network +. 

Contact Joseph Henry at jhenry@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424.

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