Sports | Volleyball
A six-hour turnaround wasn’t ideal for No. 8 Florida volleyball to retake the court in Flagstaff, Arizona, to finish out its three-game stint in the Lumberjack Invitational.
It only took 42 points for Florida volleyball to kick its game into high gear.
They started the fifth set with a lead, as they did in almost every set before. It ended with two kills by Northern Arizona’s redshirt senior outside hitter Kaylie Jorgenson to upset the No. 8 Florida Gators.
The No. 8 Florida volleyball team travels to Flagstaff, Arizona, to compete in the Lumberjack Invitational. The Gators begin the tournament with a doubleheader today against California State - Northridge at 12:30 p.m. and Northern Arizona at 10 p.m. The team will then face Southern Illinois on Saturday at noon.
The O’Connell Center stood on the tips of its collective toes as freshman Lauren Dooley took her approach toward a set from Allie Monserez.
With an 8-all score in the fourth set, Florida’s volleyball coach Mary Wise sat on the team bench looking tense. She clutched her clipboard with both hands and held it close to her face just over her mouth, watching the long rally finish out from the sidelines.
As the ball came careening down from the rafter and Louisville’s outside hitter Amanda Green hit it, UF senior middle blocker Taelor Kellum stuffed it back to the other side, putting the Gators up by two in the fourth set and icing the match for her team.
The first home match of the 2018 season for the Florida volleyball team began with players jumping with glee and throwing T-shirts into the stands. It ended with those same players jumping with desperation trying to block No. 7 USC’s spikes and throwing their arms up in frustration.
After splitting its first two matches last weekend in the VERT Challenge, the No. 4 Florida volleyball team enters the Bubly Invitational with its third top-ten matchup of the season against No. 7 USC today in the O’Connell Center at 7 p.m. The team will then face Louisville on Saturday and UCF on Sunday.
Graduating four starting All-Americans isn’t ideal for any team in any sport. Losing multiple senior leaders usually gives way to a follow-up year headed by confused underclassmen.
Coach Mary Wise has built one of the premier programs in Gator athletics. Since 1991, Wise has constructed a volleyball program that is constantly at the top and rarely struggles to find its footing.
The Gators’ side of the court at the Devaney Sports Center grew quiet as the team gathered in the middle for one last huddle, their faces as white as their jerseys. An attacking error by UF handed the No. 3 team in the nation a 12-10 lead in the deciding set.
It’s rare to start any sports season the way it ended.
Thayer Hall is as advertised
Things were supposed to be different this time for Florida’s volleyball team.
The relentless hustle of Nebraska and a night riddled with miscues doomed Florida’s chances of winning its first NCAA title in program history, capping off what was otherwise a solid season for UF after reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2003.