It's been almost nine months since Florida’s controversial loss to Texas during the D1 Women's Volleyball Elite Eight. And tonight, the new campaign begins against Nebraska. This is the fourth time Florida will be opening their season with a No. 1-ranked team. They did the same in 1996 (Hawai'i), 1999 (Penn State) and 2003 (Southern California).
Stop one of the revenge tour.
Okay, so maybe the Gators don't see it as a revenge tour. Head coach Mary Wise says the team will start with a clean slate. They have nine new players who, “weren’t a part of that,” coach Wise stated.
They're moving forward, focused on Florida's challenging preseason schedule. Coach Wise is confident in her team's ability to perform at the highest level throughout the season.
"This group, as diligent and as hard working as they are, the only ones that weren't in the gym almost on a daily basis, were playing international volleyball," she said. "We had players, without us, getting better. So that's something that really separates teams in the grand scheme."
They finished 25-7 last season, including the season-ending loss to Texas that many felt was swayed by an obviously incorrect call in the decisive fifth set. It was the most losses the Gators have endured in a single season during coach Wise's tenure. Which in itself is remarkable. Revenge or no, UF volleyball is motivated and ready to rock.
It should be fun to watch.
The Gators and Huskers tip off the season at 7 p.m. (ET) at Matthew Knight Arena in the first match of the 2016 installment of the VERT Challenge, hosted this year by the University of Oregon. UF will face Oregon on Saturday at 9 p.m. (ET) live on Pac-12 Network.
Courtesy of Florida Athletics
Friday, Aug. 26 vs. No. 1 Nebraska
Radio Stream (Tom Collett) live on ESPN Gainesville (95.3 FM, 850 AM) | Live Stream
Saturday, Aug. 27 at Oregon
TV: Pac 12 Network | Radio Stream (Tom Collett) live on ESPN Gainesville (95.3 FM, 850 AM) | Live Stream