UF Volleyball: Gators Fall to Gamecocks in Five-Set Thriller

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


Florida drops first match of the season in Columbia

The fourth-ranked Florida volleyball team dropped a tightly-contested five-set match to South Carolina on Thursday afternoon.

The Gators move to 5-1 on the year, with two matches left to play. South Carolina finished the fall portion of its schedule with a 5-3 record.

South Carolina took the first set 25-21, but the Gators answered with a 25-17 win in the second frame. Florida took the 2-1 match advantage after a 25-21 victory in the third set but fell 25-13 in the fourth to force a deciding fifth frame. The Gamecocks edged the Gators 15-12 in the final set to give Florida its first loss of the year.

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Florida’s offensive attack was led by Thayer Hall, who recorded 20 kills in the five-set match. The last time a Gator recorded 20 or more kills was on Nov. 17, 2019, when Hall registered 22 against Kentucky.

T’ara Ceasar added 18 kills of her own, to go along with a team-high 14 digs for her first double-double of the season. Holly Carlton recorded 12 kills, while Nnedi Okammor finished with a career-high seven.

Marlie Monserez led Florida’s offense, dishing out 48 assists in the process. She also recorded 11 digs for her second double-double of the season. Elli McKissock recorded a career-high six assists in the match as well.

As a team, Florida registered 10.0 blocks, led by seven from Lauren Dooley. Hall and Okammor each pitched in three blocks of their own on the afternoon.

Four Gators recorded double-digit digs in the match: Ceasar (14), McKissock (12 – career-high), Cerame (11) and Monserez (11). The last time four Gators recorded at least 10 digs in a match was Nov. 17, 2019 against Kentucky.

Florida finishes the fall portion of its 2020 schedule on Nov. 20/21 when the Georgia Bulldogs (3-3, 3-3 SEC) come to Exactech Arena. Friday night’s match is slated for a 7 p.m. start, while Saturday’s first serve is set for 3 p.m.

No. 4 Florida (5-1, 5-1 SEC)
South Carolina (5-3, 5-3 SEC)

How it Happened

  *   The first set was a tightly-contested battle between these two teams, with 12 ties before the media timeout. The Gamecocks took the 15-14 advantage into the break, but the Gators strung together a 3-1 run to take the 17-16 lead. The teams continued to trade points, but the Gamecocks took their largest lead of the set at 20-18, forcing a Florida timeout. South Carolina continued to keep the Gators at a distance, winning the first frame 25-21.
     *   The Gators hit .351 in the first set, led by six kills from Hall. Carlton added four kills, while Ceasar pitched in three of her own.
  *   South Carolina hopped out to a 7-4 lead early in the second frame, but the Gators continued to chip away, eventually going on a 3-0 run to take the 13-11 lead to force a timeout by the Gamecocks. Out of that break, Florida closed out the set on a 12-6 run, defeating South Carolina 25-17 to even the match at 1-1.
     *   The Gators hit a stellar .414 in the second frame, with Ceasar and Hall each posting four kills apiece in the second set.
  *   The Gators scored the first point of the third set on a great slide from Okammor, but South Carolina answered with a 6-1 run to force a Florida timeout. Out of the break, Florida was able to go on a 13-7 run to take the 14-11 advantage and force the Gamecocks to use their first timeout of the frame. South Carolina pulled to within one at 21-20, but the Gators closed the set on a 4-1 run to go up 2-1 in the match.
     *   Florida hit .286 in the third frame, led by five kills apiece from Hall and Ceasar. Carlton added four kills of her own during the set.
  *   Florida fell behind to South Carolina early in the fourth set, using its first timeout after finding itself in a four-point deficit at 11-7. The Gators pulled to within five at 18-13, but the Gamecocks continued to control the tempo, closing out the frame on a 7-0 run to force a fifth set.
     *   Hall posted a team-high three kills in the set, followed by two kills apiece from Ceasar and Monserez.
  *   The fifth set started as a back-and-forth affair, but the Gators quickly pulled ahead at the 9-5 mark, forcing a South Carolina timeout. Out of the break, the Gamecocks began chipping away at Florida’s lead, eventually tying the frame at 12-12. South Carolina was able to close out the set with three kills from Riley Whiteside to secure the match.
     *   Florida hit .273 in the final frame, with Ceasar tallying four kills. Okammor and Hall each pitched in two kills of their own in the fifth.


  *   Ceasar and Monserez each recorded a double-double in the match
  *   McKissock recorded a career-high 12 digs and six assists in the match
  *   Okammor registered a career-high seven kills on the afternoon
  *   Florida drops to 59-8 in the all-time series against South Carolina
  *   The Gators are now 4-2 against the Gamecocks in five-set matches
  *   UF moves to 27-6 against South Carolina in Columbia

Up Next

  *   The Gators close out the fall portion of their schedule on Nov. 20/21 when the Georgia Bulldogs come to Exactech Arena
  *   Friday night’s match is slated for a 7 p.m. start on the SEC Network, while Saturday’s first serve is set for 5 p.m. on the SEC Network +
  *   Both matches can be found over the airways at ESPN 98.1FM/850AM
  *   Florida holds the 66-9 series advantage over Georgia, including a 63-1 record under Mary Wise