Stucky Assists Gators — Again — in SEC Opener

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Gators setter Alexis Stucky exploded from the ground at center court while extending her arms all the way to her fingertips vertically to meet the ball, sending it right back down to the floor.

The block extended the 12th-ranked Gators’ lead over Alabama in the second set, one of many instances of Stucky’s dominance in Florida’s sweep in the Southeastern Conference opener Wednesday night at Exactech Arena/O’Connell Center.

The performance painted a stark contrast to her recent road to recovery. A true freshman from Laramie, Wyo., Stucky prepared for her first college season by rehabbing from meniscus surgery, throwing balls in hoops to satisfy her itch and desire to be ready in any way possible.

“I’m really passionate about volleyball, so any chance I get to touch the ball is great,” Stucky said.

Stucky’s competitive nature drove her to return to playing as fast as possible. And so it was in those moments throwing balls into hoops during her recovery process that she worked on her game.

during the Gators match against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. OConnell Center in Gainesville, Fla. / UAA Communications photo by Anna Carrington
Alexis Stucky does a postgame interview following Wednesday night’s win over Alabama. (Photo: Anna Carrington/UAA Communications)

Fast forward to Wednesday night and there was the 6-foot-2 Stucky, starting and dominating against the Crimson Tide. In the win, she recorded 25 of the Gators’ 33 assists over the three sets. Stucky added three kills and four attacks.

Even after an incredible performance, head coach Mary Wise knows Stucky is eager to get back onto the court.

“She’s a student of the game,” Wise said.

Despite the setback due to her injury, Stuck continues to hold herself to a higher standard whenever she steps on the court.

“I really attribute my teammates, they’re really great motivators, and I really want to be great for them,” she said.

And on Wednesday night, she was great for them. The team was great, too. A night full of pure domination from the Gators. Florida did not trail in either the first or second set. And only trailed 0-1 at the start of the third set.

With stellar performances from Merritt Beason (9), Sofia Victoria (8) and Bre Kelley (6), who earned a combined 23 kills, the Gators made quick work of Alabama. Meanwhile, the Gators tallied 11 aces with contributions from Emerson Hoyle (4), Emily Canaan (3), Beason (1), Stucky (1) and Elli McKissock (1).

The victory provided a winning encore for a team coming off a massive 3-2 win over fourth-ranked Wisconsin on Friday evening, aided by 45 assists, 11 attacks and five blocks from Stucky.

Stucky was named the SEC Freshman and Player of the Week after that performance.

And after the victory against the Badgers, Wise knew it was important for this young Gators team to build on the momentum heading into conference play.

“You just have to go to the next one,” Wise said.

The Gators and Stucky did precisely that. They seek to duplicate the routine as they travel deeper into the conference schedule.

Next up, the Gators head to South Carolina this weekend looking for another win and another assist from Stucky.

 

 


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Arianna Allen

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