Gators welcome reigning national champions tonight

Florida's Thayer Hall (20) and Paige Hammons (7) dig a ball up during a match against South Carolina at the O'Connell Center on Nov. 23. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun/File]

It will be a match-up of top-10 college volleyball teams tonight at the O’Connell Center.

No. 7 Florida (2-0) takes on No. 1 Stanford (2-0) starting at 8 p.m. in a match that will be aired on the SEC Network.

The Gators are coming off two road wins to serve up the 2019 season. Florida started the year with a sweep against No. 25 Louisville, winning 25-17, 25-21, 25-21 against the Cardinals in front of a sellout crowd in Louisville. The Gators then followed up with a comeback win against Dayton, grabbing the 3-2 victory (21-25, 17-25, 25-14, 25-23, 16-14) to secure the perfect 2-0 weekend.

“This is one of those times where we could learn just as much about ourselves from a win that we could from a loss,” UF coach Mary Wise said. “As well as Dayton played and the situations we were in — being down two and to fight back. We won that on the depth of the team and some real gutty performances.”

Florida’s Thayer Hall was named both SEC Offensive Player of the Week, as well as overall Player of the Week. Rachael Kramer earned Defensive Player of the Week honors, while Marlie Monserez picked up her first SEC honor, being named Setter of the Week.

Hall led the way offensively for the Gators against both Louisville and Dayton, averaging 4.62 kills per set and 5.12 points per set. Against Dayton, she recorded a career-high 25 kills and 67 attempts. She also notched a double-double in both matches, finishing with 12 kills and 12 digs against No. 25 Louisville and 25 kills and 10 digs against Dayton. For her efforts, she was named MVP of the Cardinal Classic.

The Cardinal played six sets over the weekend, sweeping College of Charleston and Duke while maintaining a hitting percentage above .350 in both matches. Stanford, the defending national champs, will try to extend its unbeaten streak of 34 games.

The team lost one starting senior, but bring in a top recruiting class. All five freshmen were rated in the top 50 by, including three in the top five. Graduate-transfer middle Madeleine Gates makes it six All-Americans on the roster.

The last time these two teams faced off was one for the ages, with Florida winning the five-setter to send the squad to the 2017 National Championship match. Rachael Kramer recorded eight kills in the match, leading all returners, while Mia Sokolowski added five. Those two also combined for eight blocks, with Kramer posting a team-leading five.


  • Brand new court projection
  • The first 1,000 fans to Exactech Arena will get a Point Florida Rally Towel
  • The first 500 UF students will receive “We Get Loud” T-Shirts
  • Students Block Party: The student block party will include games (cornhole, spikeball) as well as giveaways (Koozies, schedule magnets and key tags). There will also be a live DJ and the Gators Football student section will be able to pick up their t-shirts