The Gators volleyball team sat on the verge of an upset against Stanford.
The game stood at 24-23, with a slim Gator lead, in the third set with UF up two sets to none. A kill by Stanford junior Sami Francis narrowed the Cardinal deficit to make them only two points short of a match victory.
Florida head coach Mary Wise took the opportunity to bring in senior Elli McKissock to the court, but it was GameChanger/AVCA Division I Player of the Week Kennedy Martin, who secured the Gator win with a final play.
Freshman outside hitter Martin watched the Stanford serve and motioned a kill to bring the score 25-23 to secure the sweep and Florida win.
The No. 8 Florida Gators (3-0) swept the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (2-1) 3-0 Tuesday night. The team traveled to Palo Alto, California, for game three of the Tampa Bay Invitational.
Despite an early back and forth, Florida quickly gained momentum in set one. An error from freshman outside hitter Kira Hutson put the first Cardinal point on the board, but junior middle blocker Gabrielle Essix quickly retaliated with a powerful kill to level the score one apiece.
A series of Stanford errors gave the Gators an opportunity to reclaim the lead at 16-12. The Cardinal tried to keep up with a number of kills but still trailed 24-19.
Hutson led a kill to end the game with a 25-19 Florida victory.
Stanford refused to back down in set two as most of the match remained tied. McKissock kicked off Florida’s offense with a kill to claim the early lead, 8-6. The game swung back and forth as attack and service errors narrowed the gap.
Florida sophomore defensive specialist Emily Canaan and senior outside hitter Sofia Victoria helped add points to the board with numerous successful offensive plays, but Florida still trailed 19-17. After a Stanford timeout, the teams sat tied at 20.
Martin motioned a service ace and secured the Gators’ lead, 21-20.
At match point, UF fought for the set win. Martin — with an assist from sophomore Alexis Stucky — mounted a final kill and carried the second Florida set victory at 29-27.
Set three started with a series of Florida kills that were compensated with a number of service errors to keep the game tight at 7-5.
Stanford fought to stay alive with several kills but their inability to avoid errors gave Florida chances to collect points. UF capitalized on these moments for the Gator lead at 18-17.
At set point, the Gators launched kills and brought home the match victory for a final game score at 25-23 and set record of 3-0.
Florida will play its home opener against the No. 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers this Sunday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at noon. The final game of the Tampa Bay Invitational will be broadcast on ESPNU.
Contact Krisha Sanghavi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @krishasang.
Krisha Sanghavi is a third-year public relations and economics major. In her free time, she loves cheering on Miami sports teams and spending time with her friends.