May 18, 2024

Manchester Depot

Paradise Sport

Gators battle, but fall to Pitt in third round of NCAAs

6 min read
Gators battle, but fall to Pitt in third round of NCAAs

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Florida Athletics

Picture: Hannah White/UAA Communications

MADISON, Wis. – As Gators mentor Mary Wise sat amongst gamers Marina Markova and Merritt Beason at the postgame press convention, she studied the box rating of her team’s loss to Pittsburgh.

No. 3-seed Florida, which fell powering by two sets, pushed back at the next-seed Panthers to claim the third established decisively. The Gators threatened to do the exact in the fourth but ran out of fuel, losing 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 25-22) in a fiercely contested NCAA Tournament area semifinal in this article at the UW Discipline House late Thursday afternoon.

The loss ended Florida’s operate in the NCAA Event, and the disappointment leaked from the eyes of Markova and Beason afterward. Whilst Intelligent shared their desolation, she could see how close the match was in the quantities on the box rating.

“So very pleased of this workforce to get here with as minimal NCAA experience [as we have],” she said. “I indicate, we outscored Pitt. We experienced a lot more kills. We had extra blocks. We out dug them. We had more points. We just failed to get in the last scores. Some of their players have 12 NCAA matches less than their belt for some of our players, it was 3. “Such a huge variance in the experience stage, and I believed that was the difference in the match.”

Florida’s inexperience on the college or university game’s greatest stage showed up principally on initially touches. The Gators experienced 11 service problems and four reception mistakes, which confined their capability to reel off sizeable scoring operates and preserve momentum.

The Panthers (30-3), who sophisticated to the nationwide semifinals a time in the past, are way too excellent of a crew to provide absolutely free points on a platter. The Panthers manufactured the Gators (25-6) spend most harshly, ending Florida’s season and the risk of a rematch in opposition to host Wisconsin on Saturday. The Gators defeat the Badgers a few months in the past on the road.

Florida took early qualified prospects in equally the first and 2nd sets, but each time, the Panthers recovered driving veteran correct-facet hitter Courtney Buzzerio, whose six kills in the initial established overshadowed Markova’s five in the opening sport.

In the second set, the Gators went up 8-6 just before the Panthers went on an 11-3 run to attain handle. Florida flexed back in the third set, hitting .571 guiding five kills from Bre Kelley, a few from Gabbi Essix and two from Markova, furthermore five aces, led by a pair from freshman setter Alexis Stucky.

The turnaround confirmed why the youthful Gators, with Markova and graduate Rhett Robinson the only seniors on the roster, were being below in the very first spot.

“At that stage, we had practically nothing to drop, and they experienced all the tension on them,” Beason reported. “I consider when we shifted that way of thinking, that was the change. We talked about it in the huddle right before we begun that set. ‘We’re likely for it. We basically have nothing to get rid of.’ We were being just likely with it, and I believe which is the loose Florida staff. The third set was seriously a reflection of who we are.”

In the fourth established, Pittsburgh opened a 6-2 direct ahead of the Gators acquired likely and tied it three various instances, the very last on a spotlight-deserving in excess of-the-shoulder dunk by Stucky that created it 10-10. Even so, the Panthers bit by bit pulled away and lastly put the match absent on Buzzerio’s kill for a 25-22 fourth-established win.

Buzzerio completed with a recreation-substantial 19 kills, although Markova experienced a workforce-substantial 15 for Florida, and Beason chipped in 13 kills, 9 digs, a few helps and two blocks. Panthers coach Dan Fisher was glad to escape with a acquire.

“I imagined it was a actually superior volleyball match,” Fisher reported. “We experienced just enough to get the get. I assumed they were being extremely actual physical at the internet, and in the third and fourth set, they truly upped their defense. They actually pushed us to the limit.”

In the finish, the Gators dug also deep a hole.

“Early on, we missed so lots of serves we did not have a possibility to protect,” Clever claimed. “We held them to .224 [hitting]. Defensively, we did some definitely superior issues. You can find so quite a few great points these Gators did on the flooring.”

That was Wise’s concept to the team afterward.

Next the departures of numerous key gamers from previous season’s workforce that state-of-the-art to the location semifinals, Sensible was not certain what to be expecting of this year’s group when they collected in the spring to switch their awareness to the upcoming season.

But in time, newcomers like Markova, a transfer from Syracuse, and SEC Freshman of the Yr Stucky blended seamlessly with the players currently on the roster. Markova, a Russian who designs to switch specialist after earning her degree in the spring, mirrored on the journey in the aftermath of Thursday’s loss.

“It was truly incredible. I did not count on to have this kind of an expertise, at the very least people today-clever,” Markova stated. “These girls are so much enjoyment. I surely can depend on them as my finest good friends. The very same for Mary Wise. It really is not just how [I wanted it to turn out] regrettably, but it was however very huge working experience for me.”

In her 32nd period, Clever has taken all styles of teams to the NCAA Event in her distinguished profession. With Markova and Merritt seated beside her, she mentioned couple have been as pleasant to coach as this 1.

Their season is in excess of, but the Gators produced their mark.

“You never get a group like this,” Smart explained. “But I did and I actually relished each individual minute of it. These guys have been great.

“There is a great deal to be enthusiastic about when we get about this 1.”


  • Marina Markova finished the 2022 marketing campaign with 22 matches in double-digit kills immediately after her 15-eliminate functionality towards Pitt
  • Merritt Beason concluded the 2022 marketing campaign with 21 matches in double-digit kills right after her 13-get rid of hard work versus Pitt
  • Sofia Victoria concluded the 2022 marketing campaign with 16 matches in double-digit kills right after her 10-kill effectiveness against the Panthers
  • Elli McKissock sits at ninth in application historical past with 17 digs and completed the 2022 season with 26 matches in double-digit digs
  • Florida is now 81-33 (.711) all-time in the NCAA Event, which includes an 80-32 (.714) history under Smart
  • The Gators complete the 2022 period with a 25-6 report
  • The group won its 25th SEC Championship
  • That mark is the 3rd-finest overall in the whole conference among the all sports activities since volleyball’s inception into the SEC in 1979
  • All 25 SEC titles have arrive under Mary Smart, this means she has received at the very least a share of a conference title in 25 of her 32 seasons at Florida
  • The 25 titles are the second-finest mark at Florida given that 1984, with only women’s tennis acquiring extra titles in that time body (26)
  • It was also the 256th SEC title for the Gators athletics method – the league large
  • For the duration of the 12 months, the Gators extended their streak to 32-straight seasons with an NCAA Tournament physical appearance and have also received at minimum 20 matches in 32-consecutive many years
  • Florida moves to 1-3 in the all-time sequence against Pitt
  • The Gators are now -2 in four-established matches versus the Panthers