MADISON, Wisc. – Florida’s 16th-place volleyball team beat 4th-place Wisconsin in a five-episode thriller Friday night, while also setting a regular-season NCAA attendance record of 16,833 fans.
With the win, Florida moved up 8-2 in the year going into the SEC round, while Wisconsin fell 5-2.
In front of a record-setting crowd, the Gators performed in the first set, 25-21 – the first opening set Wisconsin has beaten since September 2. Florida then followed up. That performance with 25-18 wins in the second set to pull 2-0 ahead in the game. Losing more points in the third inning, but Wisconsin won the set 28-26 before following with a 25-13 victory in the fourth inning. Florida then fought back from deficit in the fifth inning to take 15-13.
The Gators’ defense on the net proved to be the difference-maker, as Florida held off the Badgers with a hit performance of 0.1. As a team, UF calculated 16.0 blocks in game five, led by Bre Kelley of seven blocks. Alexis Stucky and Marina Markova each added five in the win, while Gabrielle Essix added four.
Florida’s offensive offensive was led by Merritt Beason’s career-high 21-kill performance. Essix posted 10 kills, while Markova added eight in the victory.
Alexis Stucky controlled the tempo of the game for Florida, making 45 assists – marking the best milestone of her career.
Elli McKissock led the counter-attacking defensive effort for Florida, finishing the game with 18 dugouts. Trinity Adams added 10 digs of her own in the win, while Beason and Victoria added 8 and 6 respectively.
Beason brought out the three best serving pieces on the team in victory, followed by one from McKissock and Emily Canaan.
The Gators begin conference play Wednesday with the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Exactech Arena. The first serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. on SEC Network+.