UF roundup: COVID protocols sideline some Gator gymnastics team members, volleyball match postponed
Due to COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the No. 1 Florida program, some Gators gymnastics team and staff members will not be present at tonight's dual meet with Kentucky.
Gators involved are coach Jenny Rowland, volunteer coach Jeremy Miranda, manager Shea Wheeler and team members Trinity Thomas, Sydney Johnson-Scharpf, Nya Reed and Savannah Schoenherr.
Florida will compete tonight because itm can fill each competitive lineup from the 10 remaining Gator gymnasts.
Competition begins at 6:45 p.m. in in front of physically distanced sold-out Exactech Arena at the O'Connell Center. Gates open at 6 p.m.
These meets are part of a Southeastern Conference initiative and most of the league's teams will participate in a "pink" meet this season. Team colors are set aside as the teams wear pink to show their support for the breast cancer fight.
The Gator junior duo of Trinity Thomas and Nya Reed claimed their third weekly SEC honor of 2021 after their performances at No. 2 LSU. Thomas claimed her 14th overall SEC Gymnast of the Week honor after her UF record and 2021 leading all-around total (39.90). Scores of 9.925 on vault (collegiate best) and floor earns Reed the SEC Specialist of the Week honor.
Matches between Florida and Mississippi State scheduled to be played Friday and Saturday in Starkville have been postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contract tracing within the Gators program.
The opportunity to reschedule the matches will be evaluated.
Despite a career night from senior guard Kiki Smith, Florida fell 77-70 Thursday to visiting Alabama.
Scoring 20 or more points for the eighth time this season, Smith tied her career high with 27 points and kept the Gators within striking distance. The left-handed guard poured in a career-high four 3-pointers and knocked down 7-of-8 from the free throw line, but it wasn't enough as the Crimson Tide picked up the win to improve to 14-6 on the season.
Florida (10-10, 3-9 SEC) trailed by as many as 17 in the third, but the Gators charged back to draw within six points twice in the fourth quarter. A pull-up jumper from Smith made the score 72-66 with 1:17 on the clock but the Gators could not break through for the necessary breaks and bounces to take out the Tide at home.
Florida plays its final game of what has been a busy week of hoops Sunday when it hits the road for a matchup at Missouri. The game is set to tip at 2 p.m. and will air on SEC Network.
No. 6 Florida continues its homestand at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium with the Bubly Invitational today through Sunday. The Gators welcome Charlotte (2-1) and Georgia Southern and will play five total games over the three-day span.
All five of UF’s scheduled games can be listened to live on FloridaGators.com.
The Gators (3-0) will open the Bubly Invitational at 6 p.m. Friday vs. Georgia Southern, then will finish Saturday and Sunday with back-to-back games against the Eagles and the Niners each day.
Swimming and diving
Florida got out to a fast start on the second night of the SEC Championships as Vanessa Pearl took second in the 200IM in Athens, Ga. The Gators are leading the meet after two days.
Thursday night began with the 500-free, Tylor Mathieu got the Gators stated with a fourth-place finish. Elise Bauer was right behind her in sixth place to pick up some major points for Florida. In the B-final, Taylor Ault placed third and Amanda Ray finished in seventh. Lain Shahboz and Nikki Miller went second and forth in the C-final.
Pearl came out strong in the 200IM placing second and picking up the first medal of the night for Florida. In the B-Final Kathleen Golding came in second with a time of 1:56.93, that time also puts her on the UF all-time best list at number nine.
Katie Mack finished third in the 50-free, picking up the second medal of the night for Florida with a time of 21.85. With Macks' prelim time she moves up to number two on the UF all-time best list. Talia Bates in the B-final finished third with a time of 22.12 and moves on the UF all-time best list at number five.
The quartet of Katie Mack, Talia Bates, Gabby Hillis and Kathleen Golding came out strong in the 200-free relay and took third in their heat but fourth overall with a time of 1:28.50 and move on to the UF all-time best list at number seven.
On the 3-meter springboard Ashley McCool claimed the bronze medal with 355.05 points making that her second medal of the championships.
Florida will open spring play Saturday at 11 a.m. vs. College of Charleston. Admission is free at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium, but capped at 368 to ensure social distancing.
The previously scheduled home match today against Florida Atlantic was postponed due to lack of available FAU players. That match is now canceled and replaced with Saturday's match versus College of Charleston.
No. 11 Florida (4-1) will host No. 23 Alabama (8-2) and Auburn (3-4) this weekend at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex to serve up its Southeastern Conference schedule.
The Gators are scheduled to host the Crimson Tide on Friday at 5 p.m., while the Tigers will come to Gainesville on Sunday at noon.
UF will play in its first contests since Jan. 29 at UCF, which it won 5-2.
Alabama and Auburn were two of only four SEC matchups that Florida played last season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the rest of the 2020 season. The Gators won both of those matches, 7-0, at home.
No. 22 Florida begins its 2021 SEC slate this weekend with a pair of road contests in the state of Alabama, as it takes on the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa on Friday and then travels to Auburn on Sunday afternoon.
First serve is set for 2 p.m. Friday at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility and Sunday's action will kickoff at 1 p.m. from the Yarbrough Tennis Center.