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Zach Pekale | NCAA.com | September 4, 2019

Stanford vs. Florida college volleyball: Preview, how to watch

Check out this 1:55 second rally in this week's volleyball top plays

The No. 1 Stanford volleyball team caps its season-opening, three-game road trip at No. 7 Florida tonight. Here is a closer look at the top-10 matchup and how to watch.

The match will be the programs’ first meeting in Gainesville in almost 15 years.

Stanford vs. Florida volleyball: Preview

Following the release of the first regular season AVCA Coaches poll, Stanford retained its top ranking while Florida moved up three spots to No. 7. Both teams started the season 2-0 after the Cardinal didn’t drop a set over the weekend. 

Florida swept then-No.25 Louisville before rallying to edge Dayton in five sets.

POLL REACTION: Top 10 shakes up beneath Stanford

Their all-time series record stands at 6-5 in favor of the Cardinal. However, the Gators won the most recent meeting during the 2017 NCAA tournament— a five-set thriller in the national semifinal. Florida ultimately lost the championship match to Nebraska in four sets.

After the 2017 loss, Stanford would not be denied again, dropping one regular-season match and four postseason sets to win the program's eighth national title. Florida progressed as far as the round of 16 after winning 26 games and finishing third in the SEC standings.

Wednesday marks a new chapter in the teams’ history, but both Stanford and Florida return some of their top talent from a season ago. 

Stanford


TALE OF THE TAPE Florida

No. 1 Preseason ranking No. 10
Kevin Hambly
3rd season at Stanford
64-5 at Stanford
Coach Mary Wise
29th season at Florida
852-108 at Florida
34-1 (20-0 Pac-12) 2018 record 26-7 (15-3 SEC)
Champion 2018 NCAA tournament Third Round
39 NCAA tournament appearances 29
8 NCAA championships 0
Kathryn Plummer, 545 Returning kills leader Holly Carlton, 302
Jenna Gray, 1,485 Returning assists leader Marlie Monserez, 437
Audriana Fitzmorris, 142 Returning blocks leader Rachael Kramer, 170
Morgan Hentz, 591 Returning digs leader Allie Gregory, 514
vs. No. 3 Texas, 3 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 8
Next match vs. No. 8 Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7

The Cardinal return three first-team All-Americans from a season ago with seniors Kathryn Plummer, Jenna Gray and Morgan Hentz back for their final season in Palo Alto. Plummer, the reigning national player of the year, led the Cardinal in kills while Gray and Hentz were the team-leaders in assists and digs.

Once you factor in second-team All-American Audriana Fitzmorris with three additional players to appear in at least 30 matches, it's not too hard to recognize that Kevin Hambly has one of the most experienced teams in Division I.

KEEP IT UP: Florida Gulf Coast, Hawaii wild rally nearly lasts 2 minutes

A win tonight would push Stanford's current winning streak to 35 matches. That would tie for the 10th-longest all-time.

But wins at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center come few and far between to visiting opponents. Florida owns a staggering 510-66 record at home since the program's inception in 1984. To knock off Stanford, the Gators will turn to their veteran-heavy group of All-American and All-Conference selections.

Holly Carlton, Thayer Hall and Rachael Kramer were all named Honorable Mention All-Americans in 2018 in addition to Hall and Kramer's all-conference recognition.

Kramer was the anchor of the Gators' block in 2018, registering 170 rejections while Carlton's 302 kills paced the offense. 

A Gators win would be their first over the No. 1 ranked team since a four-set win over Texas in Aug. 2017.

Stanford–Florida volleyball: How to watch

Wednesday's 8 p.m. match is on the  SEC Network. It is also available online through ESPN+ and can be listened to on ESPN's Gainesville-based station,  98.1FM - 850AM WRUF.

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