Gator Volleyball completes Arkansas sweep – ESPN 98.1 FM

The Arkansas Razorbacks have never won a game in Gainesville in volleyball, and that didn’t start this weekend. On Saturday, the Gators swept Arkansas in three straight sets. Sunday’s game played out differently as Arkansas returned to prepared Gator territory. The Hogs managed to hold off the Gators until the fifth set, but ultimately Florida came out on top.

The Gators improve to 18-4 on the year and 10-2 in the SEC after winning three straight, while Arkansas drops to 14-7 overall and 5-6 in the league.

Scary start for the Gators

Florida got off to a very rough start, trailing 12-7 when coach Mary Wise called for her first timeout. Arkansas didn’t let that stop their momentum and went on to score three more runs before Florida’s Gabrielle Essix broke her streak. The Razorbacks held onto their lead over the Gators, holding a seven-point, 20-13 lead before the media timeout.

Outside hitter Taylor Head and middle tackle Tatum Shipes led Arkansas through the first set. Florida tried to hang on but ultimately lost the first set 25-20. It’s the first time in the two-game series that the Hogs have scored more than 20 points.

Alligators find their place

After a difficult first set for the Gators, Arkansas did not ease off. The Razorbacks scored three before Florida’s first point of the set. The Gators struggled to score with the number of service errors accumulated in favor of Arkansas.

This set proved to be just as difficult as the first, with multiple service errors on both sides of the net. Arkansas extended its lead to 11-5, but was quickly followed by three straight runs from Florida senior Marina Markova. Going into the media timeout, the score was 15-10 Arkansas.

Coming out of the break, Florida scored two runs before being cut short by another clear error. The Gators took their first timeout at 17-12 after Arkansas delivered an ace. Florida started a comeback and made it 19-17 before Arkansas took their first timeout.

Outside of timeout, the Gators tied the set at 19, and it was a back-and-forth battle from there. Florida took its first lead of the day at 23-22, forcing the Hogs to take their second timeout.

Merritt Beason delivered a disputed kill on a set point that Razorback coach Jason Watson disputed. The point was confirmed, ending in a 25-23 score for the Gators.

Gators back on track

Following the momentum of the second set, Florida took a 3-2 lead early in the third set. Things finally started to fall into place and the lead stretched further than a four-point run. Markova held her left corner very well, forcing Arkansas to take their first timeout of the set at 8-3 Gators.

The Razorbacks tried to hold a lead of just five points, but Florida kept falling further and further away. After rookie Emily Canaan served the first ace of the game to make it 19-11, Arkansas took their second timeout.

Both teams went back and forth but the Gators ultimately emerged victorious, ending the set 25-18 in Florida.

Gators Flop in the fourth

Opening the fourth set, Arkansas took its first lead since the first set, 3-2. The Razorbacks took the lead and ran, forcing Florida to take a timeout at 11-6.

Canaan delivered the second ace of the game for the Gators, but it wasn’t enough momentum to put them back on top. Outside hitter Hailey Dirrigl was a huge playmaker for the Hogs in the fourth set and helped force the Gators’ second timeout at 21-16. The Gators tried to hang on, but Arkansas came out on top with a final score of 25-20.

Set Five

As the fifth set opened, Florida scored the first point. Arkansas responded quickly with a point but would be left in the dust after another ace from Libero Elli McKissock and a 6-0 run. Arkansas took their second timeout at 10-3 to slow the Gators down, but their momentum kept building.

Another ace delivered by Stucky followed by a match point from Sofia Victoria put the Gators ahead, sealing the fifth set at 15-7.


The Missouri Tigers travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators on Friday, Nov. 4 with first serve scheduled for 7 p.m.

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