UF Volleyball: Florida Sweeps Auburn in Season Opener
Courtesy of University Athletic Association
The fourth-ranked Gators topped the Tigers in straight-sets to start the season 1-0
The fourth-ranked Florida Gators started the fall portion of the 2020 season on a high note, dropping the Auburn Tigers in straight-sets on Wednesday night.
Florida took the first set in dominating fashion, winning 25-14. The Gators held all the control in the second set, taking the frame 25-14 once again and then following with a 25-20 victory in the final set to clinch the season opener.
With this victory, Florida has now won 28 season openers and four straight.
In her Gator debut, redshirt junior T’ara Ceasar recorded a team-high 11 kills on 22 swings for a .364 clip. Junior Thayer Hall added nine kills of her own, while classmate Haley Warner registered five kills all in the third set.
Marlie Monserez captained the Florida offense, dishing out 29 assists on the evening. The junior setter also recorded a team-high 11 digs, notching her first double-double of the year.
UF held Auburn to just a .009 clip on the evening, recording nine team blocks in the process. Ceasar led the way with five blocks – three solo, two assists – while redshirt seniors Holly Carlton and Darrielle King each pitched in three blocks apiece.
In her first match as libero, Paula Cerame totaled 10 digs, while Ceasar added eight of her own.
The Gators are right back in action Thursday to finish the two-match series against the Tigers. First serve is slated for 8 p.m. on ESPNU, with Courtney Lyle and Missy Whittemore on the call.
No. 4 Florida (1-0)
How It Happened
* The first set was tied at 6-6 early, but after a 5-0 service run by Ceasar, it was all Florida. The Gators continued to push, stringing along service runs by Monserez, Hall, and Cerame to take the 23-12 lead. The Tigers cut the lead to 10 at 24-14, but a Hall kill clinched the opening set for Florida.
* The Gators hit .364 in the first set, led by five kills on seven swings from Ceasar. Hall added three kills of her own, while Monserez dished out nine assists.
* The second set began as a back-and-forth affair, but the Gators went on an 11-4 run to force an Auburn timeout at the 14-7 mark. Out of the timeout, Hall continued to push from beyond the service line, giving Florida the 17-7 lead. UF pulled ahead 12 late in the set, but Auburn staved off three Florida set points, before Hall once again closed out the frame with a kill.
* Hall and Ceasar combined for five kills from the pin in the second set, while Holly Carlton pitched in two of her own.
* Florida and Auburn traded points in the third set, but strong serves from Paige Hammons and Monserez gave the Gators a bit of breathing room with a 12-9 lead. The Tigers battled back to tie it at 12-12, but three kills from Warner gave Florida the 15-14 advantage ahead of the media timeout. Out of the break, Florida went on a 5-2 run to take the 20-16 lead late in the frame. Auburn would pull within three points at 22-19, but the Gators took advantage of two Ceasar kills and two Auburn service errors to secure the 25-20 victory.
* Ceasar and Warner each recorded five kills in the third frame to lead the way. Monserez posted 12 assists in the set, while three Gators each recorded four digs apiece (Ceasar, Cerame, Monserez).
* Just one season removed from having 10 double-doubles, Monserez registered her first one of the year with 29 assists and 11 digs
* The last time Florida held a team to below a .100 clip was on Nov. 27, 2019 against Arkansas
* The Gators have now won 28 season openers in program history
* This is the fourth consecutive season opener Florida has won
* Florida moves to 50-2 against Auburn, including a 46-1 record under Mary Wise
* UF remains undefeated in three-set matches against the Tigers, improving to 37-0
* The Gators are now 23-2 in Auburn, Ala.
Thoughts from Coach Wise
“We certainly know more about ourselves after tonight, and now we can see how quickly we can make adjustments playing the same team 24 hours later.”