Gators fall to Bears in straight sets; Baylor sweeps series

Florida 1-2 against top-20 ranked opponents this season
Published: Sep. 11, 2021 at 10:55 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - In her 31 years as head coach of the Florida volleyball team, Mary Wise has never shied away from challenging her team against the nation’s best competition.

The seventh ranked Gators hosted no. 17 Baylor for the second straight day at the Steven C. O’Connell Center on Saturday. The orange and blue were hoping to avenge a 3-1 loss they incurred to the Bears the previous evening.

In the first set, Baylor raced out to a 5-0 lead before T’ara Caesar finally registered her first kill of the match to put Florida on the board. Caesar had a match high 19 kills and 10 digs.

But her efforts would be in vain.

On set point, the normally reliable Lauren Forte went to spike a set right at the middle of the net, but whiffed her attempt and the ball fell on the Gators side to hand the opening frame to the Bears, 25-19.

The next two sets continued the same pattern as the first.

No matter how much Florida fought to stay in the match, they never quite had the answer to pull ahead and sustain a lead over Baylor.

The Gators first set score of 19 points would be the highest total they would record over the three sets. As they went on to fall to the Bears in three straight frames - 25-19, 25-18, 25-16.

Part of the reason Florida couldn’t seem to score enough points was the presence of Avery Skinner. She transferred to Baylor this fall after helping lead Kentucky to the National Championship this past spring. The talented graduate transfer registered nine kills and four blocks.

The loss moves Florida’s record to 4-3 this season. The Gators are now 1-2 against top-20 ranked opponents this season. The lone win came against 10th ranked Minnesota the previous week.

Florida will take a few days off before traveling to Tallahassee to face their in-state arch rival, Florida State on Wednesday.

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