Stucky, the 6-foot-2 sophomore from Wyoming and heart of the third-ranked Gators, went down midway through the second set when she landed awkwardly on a kill attempt. She was in obvious pain and was helped to the locker room by trainers.
“Unfortunately, it did not look good,” UF coach Mary Wise said.
Stucky, the 2022 SEC Freshman of the Year and third-team All-American, came into the game with 322 assists on the season, a kill percentage of .480 and through the first set and a half had another 17 assists after helping lead the Gators to a 25-15 win in the opening set against the monstrous Badgers. She was replaced by 5-11 Kennedy Muff, a grad-transfer from Division II Flagler with limited playing time to date.
The Gators went on to win the second set 25-22, but Wisconsin’s size took over in the final three sets, as the home team fell 21-25, 22-25 and 13-15 in a pulsating third.
Stucky returned to the O’Dome floor from the locker room and watched it all from the sidelines.
“The deflation [with the team] came when they saw her on crutches and they knew she wasn’t coming back,” said Wise, who sans Stucky was forced into some lineup adjustments and tactics unfamiliar to her team. “We were drawing it in the sand.”
Wise, through, credited Muff for stepping into such a high-level, high-intensity situation against the nation’s top-ranked team. “What a great story,” the coach said. “Here’s Kennedy Muff, a year ago playing at Flagler, playing Division II, and now against the No. 1 team in the nation [and] she has the guts to perform under that. I can’t say enough about Kennedy Muff, but that is indicative of this team.”
While the Gators await word on Stucky’s status, they’ll have to do some more re-making on the fly. A couple practices will go a long way toward acclimating Muff to her battlefield promotion as UF preps for the start of the Southeastern Conference.
Florida (8-1) opens league play Friday night at 24th-ranked Auburn (10-1).
“It’s a very different look and change coming from different setters of different heights and it’ll take a while,” Wise said, again praising the performance of Muff under Sunday’s circumstances. “If you’re going to ask for an…