Sunday’s Florida-Wisconsin matchup couldn’t have been more balanced. Both are top-3 ranked teams with perfect records thus far (two of five top-25 teams to go undefeated in Week 3). Here’s a side-by-side comparison:
|Sets have dropped this season||6||7|
|Opp achieving %||0.163||0.194|
Wisconsin ranks 8th in the nation at a .311 clip, led by MB Carter Booth, who is swinging at a .468 average (13th nationally). However, the Badgers have yet to see a top-10 opponent this year. In Wednesday’s matchup with Marquette, the Badgers took two sets to find their bearings, trailing 28-26 in the first and falling 25-20 in the second. Although Wisconsin squeaked by in four, producing a season-low hitting percentage (.244) and a season-high serving errors (19), Marquette’s top eight serves to Wisconsin’s five. In order to maintain their undefeated record and No. 1 ranking in the AVCA, Wisconsin needs to clean up their serving game and try to force the Gators out of the system.
Like the previous game at Wisconsin, the Gators are going toe-to-toe with unranked rival Florida State, who pushed the Gators to five sets and beat UF .303 to .276. But so far this season, UF is 3-0 against ranked opponents, going 3-0 against No. 5 Minnesota and No. 2 Stanford to boost its early-season reputation. And it’s no secret that Florida is equipped with the artillery to be a top-3 team — right fielder Kennedy Martin, MB Gabbi Essix and setter Alexis Stucky all rank in the top 50 in the nation in individual stat lines; Martin added 5.61 P/S (6th) and 4.58 K/S (11th), Essix posted 1.41 B/S (23rd) and Stucky averaged 10.39 assists per set (36th) . According to the schedule, Florida is 3-17 against top-ranked opponents and is 3-3 in games between top-3 teams.
Exactly one year before Sunday’s game, Florida and Wisconsin faced off in a five-set showdown — a contest so close that the teams had exactly the same hitting percentage, .115. UF barely took the cake in the fifth, handing the No. 4 Badgers their second loss of the season.
The Badgers and Gators broke the NCAA regular-season indoor attendance record with 16,833 fans at the Kohl Center in their 2022 game. In their final game, Wisconsin came through and broke the same record again with 17,037 fans packed into Fiserv Forum to witness the Badgers take down Marquette. As for the O’Dome in Gainesville, the attendance record of 8,163 hasn’t been surpassed since 1994 — since the facility’s renovation, it has a capacity of about 10,500. And Florida’s volleyball program is doing everything it can to get a sniff at the record; Free concert ticket giveaways, donuts and flyers will entice fans.
I need you loud and noisy on Sunday, Gator Nation 🗣️
— Gators Volleyball (@GatorsVB) September 14, 2023