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UF Volleyball: Gators Sweep Crimson Tide in Home Opener

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

The fourth-ranked Florida Gators moved to 3-0 after their three-set win over Alabama

After a long-awaited return, the fourth-ranked Florida Gators finally got to compete at Exactech Arena, defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide in three sets on Friday night to move to 3-0 on the year.

Florida won the first set by a score of 25-18 and took the second frame 25-22. UF clinched the match with a 25-18 victory in the third set.

Thayer Hall had a dominating offensive performance on Friday night, recording 19 kills and a .472 clip in the three-setter. T’ara Ceasar added 13 kills of her own, while Holly Carlton pitched in nine in the match on 14 swings for a .643 hitting percentage.

Marlie Monserez led the team to a .404 clip on the night, dishing out 38 assists in the process. That hitting percentage is the highest one of the year for the Gators and is the best clip since 12/5/19 when Florida hit .412 against Alabama State in the NCAA Tournament.

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UF held Alabama to a .193 clip on the night, registering eight total blocks. In her first start, Nnedi Okammor registered a team-high and career-high five blocks, while Ceasar added three on the evening. Monserez and Carlton each recorded two blocks as well.

Elli McKissock and Thayer Hall each recorded 11 digs on the evening, giving Hall her first double-double of the season. Paula Cerame added eight digs of her own, while Ceasar pitched in seven.

The Gators return right back to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. to close out the series with Alabama.

How It Happened

  *   The two squads traded points throughout the first half of the set, but with the frame tied 12-12, Thayer Hall led the Gators on a service run to put UF ahead 15-12 going into the media timeout. Coming out of the break, Florida continued to roll, going on a 5-2 run to take the 20-14 advantage. UF forced Alabama to use its final timeout of the set after taking a 23-18 lead and then Monserez closed out the final two points behind the service line, taking the set 25-18.
     *   The Gators hit .344 in the first frame, led by seven kills from Hall. Carlton and Ceasar each pitched in three kills as well, while Monserez posted 13 assists.
  *   The second set was a back-and-forth battle almost the entire way. Alabama took the 15-14 lead into the media timeout, but Florida answered with a 3-0 run out of the break to take the 17-15 advantage. The Crimson Tide responded, taking the 18-17 and forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators came out with a fire under them, taking the 20-18 lead behind the serves of Ceasar. Hall recorded three kills over the next five points and Ceasar capped off the frame with a solo block for Florida to go up 2-0 in the match.
     *   Ceasar and Hall led the way offensively in the second set, each registering six kills. As a whole, the squad recorded a .410 clip in the frame, with Monserez dishing out another 13 assists.
  *   The third frame was all Gators from the start, with Florida taking the 11-5 lead early. Alabama pulled to within two points at 11-9, but a Monserez service run gave the Gators a five-point lead at 17-12. Florida held control from that point on, with Alabama never getting closer than five points the rest of the way.
     *   Florida hit an incredible .464 in the final frame, with Hall recording a set-high six kills. Ceasar and Carlton combined for seven kills in the third set as well.

Notables

  *   The Gators hit over .400 for the first time since 12/5/19 against Alabama State (.412)
  *   Thayer Hall recorded her first double-double of the season, finishing with 19 kills and 11 digs
  *   The Gators remain undefeated against the Crimson Tide, moving to 48-0 overall and 46-0 under Mary Wise
  *   Florida moves to 44-0 in three-set matches against Alabama
  *   UF is now 24-0 against Alabama in Gainesville, Fla.
  *   The Gators move to 3-0 on the year for the 23rd time in program history

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  *   “Tonight speaks volumes to all parts of the offense. From controlling the pass against a very good service team, to the set distribution by Marlie and then our hitters’ ability to terminate.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators return to Exactech Arena on Saturday to close out the two-match series with Alabama
  *   First serve is slated for 3 p.m.
  *   Due to the football game on Saturday, fans will be asked to park in the garage of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center lot. Overflow parking will be available at Flavet Field (following the Lot 5 signs)

No. 4 Florida vs. Alabama Broadcast Information – Saturday, Oct. 31
Time: 3 p.m.
Live Stats
Radio: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM