Gators Sweep Alabama to Start SEC Play

Box Score

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 12 Florida volleyball team kicked off conference play on a high note after defeating Alabama in straight sets on Wednesday night in Exactech Arena.

With the victory, Florida improves to 9-2 and 1-0 in the SEC and are winners of six-straight matches. Alabama drops to 6-7 and 0-1 in league play.

The Gators are now 51-0 against Alabama in the all-time series, including 49-0 under Mary Wise.

Florida controlled the tempo in the first set, taking the frame 25-19 and then kept the momentum after winning the second set 25-19. The Gators closed out the match with a 25-17 win in the final frame to move to 1-0 in league play.

Merritt Beason paced Florida’s offensive attack on Wednesday night with a nine-kill performance, followed by eight kills from sophia victoria. Bre Kelley added six in the sweep, while Gabrielle Essix (5) and Marina Markova (4) combined for nine.

Alexis Stucky dished out 25 assists in the match, leading the team to a .321 hitting efficiency overall.

The Gators kept the Crimson Tide to just a .152 clip in the three-setter, tallying 6.0 blocks as a team. Beason registered a team-high three blocks, while Stucky, Kelley and Essix each recorded two in the victory.

In the backcourt, Elli McKissock posted a team-high 15 digs on the night, followed by eight from Emily Canaan.

Behind the service line, Florida recorded 11 aces, including a team-high from four from Canaan and a career-best three from Emerson Hoyle. McKissock also added two aces, while Beason and Stucky contributed one apiece.

The Gators are back in action for a two-match series at South Carolina beginning Saturday. Both Saturday and Sunday’s matches are slated for a 2 p.m. start and will be streamed on SEC Network +.


No. 12 Florida (9-2, 1-0 SEC)

Alabama (6-7, 0-1 SEC)

How It Happened

  • The Gators took the early six-point advantage at 7-1 behind service runs from Stucky and Canaan, followed by a 4-0 run from Beason to give UF the 12-4 lead in the first. The Crimson Tide battled back to within three points at 17-14, forcing Florida to use its first timeout of the set. Out of the break, the Gators kept at least a three-point lead over Alabama, eventually taking the set 25-19.  

    • Florida hit .258 in the frame, while holding the Crimson Tide to a .128 clip. Beason posted a team-high four kills, followed by three from Essix in the first.

  • Florida jumped out to the early 5-1 lead in the second set, but Alabama cut the lead to just one at 6-5. The Gators would not let that momentum swing last long, as UF took an 11-2 run into the media timeout. Coming out of the timeout, UF pulled ahead 10 points at the 19-9 mark. Florida was able to keep Alabama at a distance through the second half of the set, but a 5-0 Crimson Tide run cut UF’s lead to just five at 24-19. An Alabama service error secured the frame for Florida and put the Gators up 2-0 in the match.  

    • The Gators hit .500 in the second set and kept the Crimson Tide to a .087 clip. Victoria led the offensive attack with four kills, while Beason pitched in three.

  • With Florida leading the third set 8-6, the Gators exploded on a 5-0 run behind the serves of Hoyle. The Crimson Tide then used a 4-0 run of their own to pull back to within three at 17-14. That was as close as Alabama would get the rest of the way, with Florida closing out the match with an 8-3 run to start the conference season 1-0.

    • The Gators hit .267 in the final frame, with Kelley posting four kills to clinch the victory.


  • Emily Canaan tied her career-best with four service aces
  • Emerson Hoyle tallied a career-high three service aces in the match
  • The Gators improve to 51-0 in the all-time series against the Crimson Tide
  • Florida is now 47-0 in three-set matches against Alabama
  • UF remains perfect against Alabama in Gainesville, Fla., moving to 26-0
  • The Gators are now 6-0 in three-set matches during the 2022 campaign
  • With her 15 digs in the match, Elli McKissock broke into the Top-20 in program history with 957, surpassing both Carli Snyder’s 948 and Jerilyn Hattendorf’s 954 to move into sole possession of 19th

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  • “Our passers, in particular Elli McKissockreally nailed down our opportunity to win this match with how well they controlled the first contact.”

Up Next

  • The Gators are back in action for a two-match series at South Carolina beginning Saturday
  • Both Saturday and Sunday’s matches are slated for a 2 p.m. start and will be streamed on SEC Network +


Coach Mary Wise on Twitter | Coach Mary Wise on Instagram

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