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UF Volleyball: Florida Tops Arkansas in Straight Sets, Sweeps Series

Photo by Jess Seldner

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY KATIE CALLAHAN

T’ara Ceasar and Holly Carlton both notch double-digit kills in win

The eighth-ranked Florida volleyball team extended its win streak to nine straight matches after sweeping the Arkansas Razorbacks in straight sets on Saturday night in Exactech Arena.

The Gators improve to 14-2 in the 2020-21 campaign, while Arkansas falls to 11-7 in this conference-only format.

Florida won the first handily, defeating the Razorbacks 25-16. The Gators continued to roll, clinching the second set 25-21 before securing the match with a 25-18 victory in the third.

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T’ara Ceasar led the offense for Florida, finishing the evening with 12 kills and a .385 clip. Holly Carlton followed right behind with 11 kills of her own, while Thayer Hall pitched in nine.

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense to a .319 clip on the evening, dishing out 33 assists in the process.

As a team, Florida held Arkansas to a .124 clip and tallied 11.0 blocks at the net. SEC blocks leader Lauren Dooley, lived up to the title, collecting five blocks on the night. Lauren Forte added five blocks of her own as well, including two solo stuffs, while Carlton added four in the three-setter.

Elli McKissock once again controlled the backcourt defense, posting a team-high 12 digs. Ceasar notched her sixth double-double of the year with her 10 digs, while Monserez pitched in nine of her own – just one shy of her seventh double-double. Riley Fischer registered a season-high eight digs on the night as well.

The Gators return to the court on March 12, when the squad begins a two-match series against the Missouri Tigers in Exactech Arena. Both matches will be streamed on the SEC Network +.

Records
No. 8 Florida (14-2, 14-2 SEC)
Arkansas (11-7, 11-7 SEC)

How It Happened

  *   The Gators got out to the early lead in the first frame, thanks in part to a 4-0 service run by Paige Hammons, which forced Arkansas to utilize its first timeout with the Gators leading 11-5. Out of the break, Florida continued to hold a sizable advantage, going up eight points at 20-12. Arkansas pulled to within six at 20-14, but Florida closed out the set on a 5-2 run to secure the victory.
     *   UF hit .257 in the first set, while holding Arkansas to a .000 clip. Carlton led the way offensively with four kills, while Ceasar added three of her own. McKissock and Ceasar each collected seven digs in the first frame alone.
  *   Florida got out to the early 12-7 lead in the second set, but Arkansas evened the frame at 15-apiece. From that point on, it was a back-and-forth battle, with neither team grabbing more than a one-point lead until Florida pulled ahead 23-21 late, forcing Arkansas to use its final timeout. Out of the break, the Gators closed out the frame on a 2-0 run behind Monserez’s serves to go up 2-0 in the match.
     *   Florida registered a .286 clip in the second frame, led by four kills apiece from Carlton and Ceasar. The team registered five blocks in the frame, led by three from Dooley and two from Carlton.
  *   The Gators brought the heat from the start in the third frame, going up 9-5 early. Arkansas cut Florida’s lead to three, but Florida went on 3-0 to force a Razorback timeout with the Gators leading 12-6. UF continued its momentum, pulling ahead by nine points at 21-12. The Razorbacks were not going down without a fight, cutting their deficit to six at 23-17, but Florida secured the match victory with two kills from the outside, coming from the hands of Hall and Ceasar.
     *   Florida hit a stellar .458 in the final frame, led by five kills on five swings by Ceasar. Hall pitched in four of her own, while Carlton added three to secure the victory.

Notables

  *   T’ara Ceasar recorded her sixth double-double of the year, with 12 kills and 10 digs
  *   The Gators move to 10-1 when holding an opponent’s hitting percentage between .100-.199
  *   Florida improves to 46-3 all-time against Arkansas
  *   The Gators are now 27-1 in three-set matches against the Razorbacks
  *   Florida remains undefeated against Arkansas in Gainesville, moving to 22-0
  *   UF remains unblemished in three-set matches this season at 12-0
  *   The Gators improve to 534-69 (.886) at home since the inception of the program

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  *   “It is not an easy task to beat teams on back-to-back nights, especially when it’s a team like Arkansas. Our production was very efficient tonight and that was the difference maker.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators return to Exactech Arena to face off against the Missouri Tigers in a two-match series beginning on March 12
  *   Friday’s first serve is slated for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network +, while Saturday’s match is set for a 4 p.m. start on the SEC Network +