GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The third-ranked Florida volleyball fell in a tightly-contested five-set match to the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers on Sunday.
Florida set a new program record on Sunday, with 10,323 fans in the stands of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. That is not only a O’Dome record, but also is the highest-attended match hosted by an SEC school all-time. It is also the highest attendance for an on-campus volleyball match in the state of Florida.
Florida finishes the non-conference schedule with an 8-1 record, while Wisconsin moves to 9-0 on the season.
The Gators won the first frame 25-15, then followed with a hard-fought 25-22 victory in the second to take the 2-0 lead. Wisconsin answered with a 25-21 win in the third and then a 25-22 victory in the fourth to force a winner-take-all fifth set. The Badgers won the hard fought fifth set 15-13 to clinch the match.
Florida’s offensive attack was evenly spread in the match, with Kennedy Martin posting a team-high 13 kills. She was followed by AC Fitzpatrick and Nnedi Okammor, who each pitched in 11. That mark was a career-high for Okammor in her senior season.
Sofia Victoria and Anna Dixon registered nine kills apiece on night.
After Alexis Stucky went down in the second set due to injury after dishing out 17 assists, Kennedy Muff entered and finished the match with 28 helpers.
Florida tallied eight blocks in the match, led by Nnedi Okammor’s five. Martin added four in the five-setter, while Dixon posted three.
Trinity Adams paced the backcourt defense with a career-high 17 digs on the night, followed by Elli McKissock’s 16. Martin grabbed her second double-double of the year with 12 digs, while Emily Canaan and Muff registered eight and seven, respectively.
McKissock registered a team-high three service aces from behind the line to lead the Gators.
No. 3 Florida (8-1)
No. 1 Wisconsin (9-0)
How It Happened
- With Florida facing a two-point deficit early, the Gators used 5-0 run behind the serves of Anna Dixon to take the 7-4 lead. The Badgers battled back to tie the frame at 10-10, but once again Florida used a run – this time 4-0 behind Kennedy Martin’s serves – to pull ahead 14-10. Wisconsin chipped away to a two-point deficit, but it was Florida that took the 15-12 lead into the media timeout. Out of the break, the Gators closed on a 10-3 run to win the first set in decisive 25-15 fashion.
- Florida held Wisconsin to a .000 clip in the first set, while Martin (4) and Stucky (3) combined for seven kills.
- The second set was a battle from the start, but with Wisconsin leading 10-7, the Gators utilized a 5-0 run to pull ahead two. Florida continued to hold the edge, but the Badgers responded and pulled ahead 15-14 heading into the media timeout. Florida swung the momentum back in its direction after the timeout, taking the four-point lead at 23-19. Wisconsin pulled to within one at 23-22, but the Gators closed out with a 2-0 run to win the frame.
- The Gators were led by five Martin kills in the second frame, while Victoria posted three to give Florida the 2-0 lead.
- The Badgers got out to the early 9-3 lead in the third, then continued to hold the Gators at a distance, taking the largest lead at 14-4. Florida cut that deficit to five at the 18-13 mark, but Wisconsin once again pushed, forcing a timeout by the Gators at the 23-16 mark. Florida used a run of its own late in the third, pulling to within three at 24-21 to force a Badgers’ timeout. Out of the break, Wisconsin was able to grab the victory with a kill from Anna Smrek to push the match to a fourth set.
- Fitzpatrick posted a team-high five kills in the third frame.
- Wisconsin took the four-point lead early in the fourth frame at 10-6, but Florida cut the Badgers’ lead to just two at the 13-11 mark. Wisconsin took swung the tempo back its way, to grab the five-point advantage at 16-11. Florida got within two at 17-15, but would not get closer the rest of the frame, with the Badgers taking it 25-22.
- Florida was led by Okammor’s five kills in the fourth set, followed by three apiece from Fitzpatrick and Victoria.
- The fifth set was a battle from the start, with the teams trading points, but Florida took the 8-7 lead into the media timeout. After the switch of sides, the Badgers tied it all up at 8-all, but a 2-0 run put Florida up 10-8 and forced a timeout by Wisconsin. Out of the break, the Badgers used a 4-0 run to grab the 12-10 lead. The Gators battled back to within one at 14-13, but Wisconsin held on for the victory.
- Anna Dixon and Kennedy Martin each registered three kills in the tightly-contested fifth set
- Trinity Adams notched a career-high 17 digs in the match
- Nnedi Okammor posted a career-high 11 kills on the night
- Kennedy Martin posted her second double-double of the season, finishing the night with 13 kills and 12 digs
- Florida set a new program record on Sunday, with 10,323 fans in the stands of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center
- That is not only a O’Dome record, but also is the highest-attended match hosted by an SEC school all-time
- Also the highest attendance for an on-campus volleyball match in the state of Florida
- The Gators are now 6-2 against the Badgers in the all-time series
- UF moves to 3-2 against Wisconsin in five-set matches
- Florida is 1-1 against Wisconsin in Gainesville, Fla.
- The Gators move to 3-1 in five-set matches during the 2023 campaign
Thoughts from Coach Wise
“To the Gator fans and volleyball fans across the Southeast that joined us today, thank you. This match was worth the environment it was given.”
The Gators rounded out their non-conference play against the Badgers and begin Southeastern Conference matches on Thursday with a trip to No. 24 Auburn F
irst serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET on SEC Netw