Florida volleyball: No. 11 Gators suffer first sweep of the season, fall to Georgia 3-0
Gainesville's temperature wasn't the only thing to fall on Wednesday night.
Florida's 11th-ranked volleyball team also went cold as it suffered its first sweep since Dec. 9, 2021, when the Gators fell to then-No. 1 Louisville in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Except this time, the rival Georgia Bulldogs were on the other side of the net.
Georgia arrived in Gainesville unranked and with a pedestrian 3-3 SEC record, but left Exactech Arena with a big, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-20) win.
From the sidelines:Florida Gators host Georgia Bulldogs in NCAA women's volleyball
Here are takeaways from Florida's midweek conference tilt.
Florida's hitting goes ice cold
Just as it's been a long time since the Gators were swept, it's also been a long time since Florida posted a worse night of hitting than Wednesday night. In fact, the two marks were last suffered in the same game.
In Florida's season-ending loss to Louisville last winter, the Gators hit .081.
The Gators posted an abysmal hitting mark of .090 against the Bulldogs — a number that worsened as the night went on.
In the opening set, Florida posted a hitting percentage of .233, followed by .030 in the second set and .027 in the final set.
Despite the turbulent night on offense, senior outside hitter Marina Markova still managed to tally 14 kills — her highest mark since the Gators' meeting with LSU 10 days ago.
Markova also finished hitting at an efficient .333 mark.
Errors lead to Gators' collapse
Not all of Florida's misses on Wednesday night were due to Georgia's defense.
Instead, many of those were self-inflicted.
Mary Wise's squad tallied an uncharacteristic 26 errors in the loss — the Gators' highest three-set mark in over eight seasons. Wise was not made available to the media after the match.
Wednesday night's errors were the fifth-most in a match this season, with the four matches ahead of it going to five sets.
While the Bulldogs didn't play their cleanest game either — tallying 18 errors — the Gators' 26 mishaps were far too much for Florida's young, scrappy squad to overcome.
Georgia heads back to Athens with first SEC sweep of the season
Not only did the Bulldogs secure their first conference sweep of the season, but they also did something they hadn't done in a long time.
The last time Georgia swept a ranked opponent was Nov. 27, 1993 when it beat Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. But it had been even longer since the Bulldogs swept the Gators - Oct. 20, 1989.
"The team played hard and stuck together," Georgia head coach Tom Black said after the match. "I thought our serving and the offense run by our setters made the difference tonight. Florida is a great team and we're happy to come out of here with a good result."
Senior Kacie Evans led Georgia with 16 kills, while junior Sophie Fischer added eight kills and nine blocks.