No better way to break an NCAA regular season attendance record than with a five-set absolute nail-biter. Florida came out on top of the five-set battle with a 15-13 win in final five. They withstood an incredible comeback effort from Wisconsin and in front of almost 17,000 Badgers fans. Really gutsy performance for the Gators.
Merritt Beason had a phenomenal night with 21 kills and eight digs. Gabbi Essix stepped up as well with 10 kills as the Badgers had Marina Markova's number, holding her to eight kills on .057 hitting. To show you just how even this match ended up being, both teams finished with a .115 hitting percentage. The Gators dominated the first two and a half sets before the Badgers came storming back in the third and fourth. Wisconsin did outblock the Gators 20-16, with eight blocks in the third set alone. But the Gators were able to side out more and get it done late in the fifth.
Every point matters in the fifth set. Despite the big start for Wisconsin, Florida went on a 4-0 run to take a 9-8 lead. Danielle Hart tied it up at 9 in a big way, then again to tie it up at 10 off the slide. Sarah Franklin again tied it up at 11 as Florida kept taking the lead, and then a Wisconsin service error gave the Gators a 12-11 advantage. Sofia Victoria came up with a big solo block to put the Gators within two. Bre Kelly smashed one over the net to give the Gators match point, and then they picked up the five-set win on a block.