The 2017 Gators squad enters the season only losing one starting player to graduation, second team All-American opposite, Alex Holston. While the Gators will miss her 4.31 points per set, Florida returns third team All-American middle blocker, Rhamat Alhassan who hit .416 for the 2016 season. With a strong returning core including their entire back row and setting, the Gators are poised to challenge for the SEC title.
Florida starts their 2017 season with four non-conference tournaments. The first features two challenging matches against Nebraska and Texas when they host the Nike Challenge in Gainesville, FL. The Cornhuskers and Longhorns are both recent national champions, with Nebraska winning most recently in 2015.
After the Nike Challenge, Florida travels to San Juan, PR for a tournament against UNC and N.C. State. The Tar Heels are returning a strong roster, including Holly Carlton, a 6′ 7″ setter/opposite who was selected to the U20 Pan American Cup team and outside hitter, Taylor Leath. This experienced Tar Heels team will challenge for the ACC championship and this showdown against Florida will be a good gauge for both teams.
Following their trip to Puerto Rico, the Gators return to Gainesville for their next two tournaments. The Active Ankle Challenge features UNC Greensboro, American and Michigan State. Hosting teams from three different conferences will show the Gators where they stand early on in the season.
The in-state rivalry between Florida and Florida State is revived in a match on September 12 in Gainesville. With all of their returning firepower, the Gators are favored in this matchup, but Florida State has consistently shown that they have what it takes to beat Florida, most recently ending their NCAA tournament run in a five set thriller last December.
The Gators host their final non-conference tournament, the Gator Invitational, against Northern Kentucky, Florida A&M and Lipscomb. Out of these three teams, Lipscomb is the only one to have made it to the NCAA tournament in 2016, however, Northern Kentucky and Florida A&M will be good matchups as both teams return experienced rosters to challenge Florida.
With the unbalanced SEC schedule, Florida will only face LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and South Carolina once. Going into the NCAA tournament, the Gators will be battle tested after playing Kentucky, Mizzou and the rest of the SEC twice.
|Aug. 25||Texas||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Aug. 26||Nebraska||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 2||North Carolina||San Juan, PR||5:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 3||N.C. State||San Juan, PR||5:30 p.m.|
|Sept. 8||UNC Greensboro||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 8||American||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 9||Michigan State||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 12||Florida State||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 15||Northern Kentucky||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 15||Florida A&M||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 16||Lipscomb||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Sept. 24||Arkansas||Fayetteville, Ar.||TBD|
|Sept. 29||Tennessee||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 1||LSU||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 4||Texas A&M||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 8||Georgia||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 13||Ole Miss||Oxford, Ms.||TBD|
|Oct. 15||Kentucky||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 20||Alabama||Tuscaloosa, Al.||TBD|
|Oct. 22||Auburn||Auburn, Al.||TBD|
|Oct. 27||South Carolina||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Oct. 29||Mississippi State||Starkville, Ms.||TBD|
|Nov. 1||Kentucky||Lexington, Ky.||TBD|
|Nov. 5||Tennessee||Knoxville, Tn.||TBD|
|Nov. 10||Arkansas||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Nov. 12||Missouri||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Nov. 15||Texas A&M||College Station, Tx.||TBD|
|Nov. 22||Auburn||Gainesville, Fla.||TBD|
|Nov. 25||Missouri||Columbia, Mo.||11:30 a.m.|
|Dec. 1-2||NCAA First and Second Rounds||Campus Sites||TBD|
|Dec. 8-9||NCAA Regionals||Top-4 remaining seeds||TBD|
|Dec. 14||NCAA Semifinals||Kansas City, Mo.||TBD|
|Dec. 16||NCAA Finals||Kansas City, Mo.||TBD|
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