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Thursday, December 09, 2021

Time to bounce back: Gators and Seminoles ready to clash

No. 14 Florida faces in-state rival Florida State Wednesday night after dropping three of its last four matches

Florida's Rachel Kramer and Holly Carlton go for a block in a 2019 game against Texas A&M.
Florida's Rachel Kramer and Holly Carlton go for a block in a 2019 game against Texas A&M.

For the 64th time in program history, the Gators volleyball team match up with Florida State. Head coach Mary Wise has been at the helm for 42 of those matches and only lost to the Seminoles six times.

Florida and the Seminoles take to the court at Tully Gym in Tallahassee, Florida, on Wednesday night for Florida’s first away game since Aug. 31.

The significance of Wednesday night’s match extends beyond the play on the court. Former FSU middle blocker Brianna Barry, who died in June of 2021, will be remembered before first serve. Barry played for the Seminoles from 2006-2009, and her No. 5 jersey will be retired and she will be inducted into the Florida State Athletics Hall of Fame during the pre-match ceremony.

Barry will remain forever linked to FSU volleyball, but she also had an impact on the Gators. She worked numerous Florida volleyball camps, forming a close bond with Wise along the way. 

Fans in attendance will have the opportunity to indulge in a sweet treat to honor Barry’s legacy. She had a tradition to find a local doughnut shop wherever she traveled. “Donuts for Bri” will serve as a time for everyone in the building to remember the impact she made.

On the court, Florida is eager for a win after a disappointing home series against No. 12 Baylor. The trip to Tallahassee provides the Gators with an opportunity to get back on track before conference play begins. 

Wise’s team simply couldn’t keep up with the Bears’ tenacity in either of last weekend’s matches. On Saturday night, senior outside hitter T’ara Ceasar laid down 19 kills, tying her season high, and senior setter Marlie Monserez performed as advertised with 34 assists. Still, Florida got routed in straight sets. 

Veteran leadership is one of the key components of the Gators’ roster, with all but two starters in their senior years, and will prove pivotal in the squad’s ability to respond to the losses.

On the flip side, the ‘Noles sit 6-2 on the season and are fresh off the UCF Invitational. Florida State went 2-1 in Orlando, Florida, with wins over Georgia and Florida Gulf Coast, but the host Knights knocked off the Seminoles in a five-setter. 

Wednesday’s match will begin at 6 p.m. and can be streamed on ACC Network Extra. 

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

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