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UF Volleyball: Gators Sweep Razorbacks to Open Series

Photo by Leslie White

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY KATIE CALLAHAN

Thayer Hall exploded for 16 kills on a .667 clip to push Florida to victory

In a battle of two of the top three teams in the SEC, the eighth-ranked Florida volleyball squad swept the Arkansas Razorbacks Friday night in Exactech Arena.

The Gators improve to 13-2 on the season, including eight straight wins, while Arkansas drops to 11-6 in the 2020-21 campaign.

Florida took the first set in dominating fashion, topping the Razorbacks 25-16. The Gators continued to roll, winning the second set 25-19 before securing the match with a 25-21 victory in the third.

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Thayer Hall led the way on the offense front, collecting 16 kills on a career-best .667 clip in the three-setter. Holly Carlton followed with nine kills, while T’ara Ceasar added eight of her own in the victory.

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, leading the team to a .364 while dishing out 32 assists.

As a team, Florida held Arkansas to a .141 clip, while collecting 13.5 blocks at the net. Lauren Dooley was a force Friday evening, registering eight blocks in the three-set match. Carlton added five blocks of her own at the net, while Monserez and Ceasar added four and three, respectively.

Elli McKissock paced the backcourt defense for Florida, recording 16 digs. Monserez added 12 of her own, securing her sixth double-double of the year, while Hall pitched in eight on the night.

Florida recorded five service aces as a team, led by two from Hall. Paige Hammons, Ceasar, and McKissock each finished with one apiece.

The Gators turn right around to close out the series with Arkansas on Saturday at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed on the SEC Network + and can be heard on FloridaGators.com/watch.

Records
No. 8 Florida (13-2)
Arkansas (11-6)

How It Happened

  *   The teams traded points throughout the first third of the opening set, but the Gators were able to string together a 3-0 run behind the serves of McKissock to take the 15-11 lead into the media timeout. Out of the break, Florida continued to hold the advantage, taking a five-point lead at the 19-14 mark. Arkansas utilized its second timeout to attempt to halt Florida’s momentum, but the Gators closed out the set on a 6-2 run to take the first set 25-16.
     *   The Gators hit .385 in the first frame, led by four kills from Hall. Ceasar and Dooley each pitched in three kills apiece in the first set as well.
  *   The second set was once again a back-and-forth battle to start, but Arkansas pulled ahead three going into the media timeout. Out of the break, the Gators went on a 5-1 run behind the serves of Hammons, who put Florida up 17-16. The teams once again began trading points, but with the frame tied 18-18, the Gators put together a 7-1 run – thanks in part to Hall’s service game – to close out the set 25-19.
     *   Hall led the way offensively in the frame, registering six kills on eight swings for a .625 clip. Dooley notched three blocks in the set, while Monserez added two of her own.
  *   The squads kept it tight through the first half of the set, but the Razorbacks took the 15-12 advantage into the media timeout. Out of that break, the Gators were able to regain the lead at 17-16 and would not look back from there, finishing the set on an 8-5 run to secure the sweep.
     *   The Gators hit .419 in the final frame, led by six kills from Hall. Ceasar posted four in the final set, while Monserez and Carlton pitched in two apiece.

Notables

  *   Thayer Hall recorded a career-high hitting percentage on the night with a .667 clip
  *   Marlie Monserez registered her sixth double-double of the season, finishing with 32 assists and 12 digs
  *   Elli McKissock posted a career-high eight assists in the match
  *   Florida moves to 45-3 against Arkansas in the all-time series, with all of the matches under the helm of Mary Wise
  *   The Gators are now 26-1 in three-set matches against the Razorbacks
  *   Florida remains undefeated against Arkansas in Gainesville, moving to 21-0
  *   UF remains unblemished in three-set matches this season at 11-0
  *   The Gators improve to 533-69 (.885) at home since the inception of the program

Players’ Corner

Thayer Hall on the importance of the serve & pass game against a team like Arkansas

  *   “It is all about being able to place your serve and mix it up. We are doing a great job with our first ball contacts as well. Over the last two matches, we have played Tennessee and Arkansas – two of the top three teams in the league in terms of digs per set, so for us to come out with a sweep is big.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators are right back in action on Saturday to close out the series with Arkansas
  *   First serve is slated for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network +. The match can also be heard on FloridaGators.com/watch
No. 8 Florida vs. Arkansas – Broadcast Information – Saturday, March 6
Time: 6 p.m.
Live Stream: SEC Network +
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Radio: FloridaGators.com/watch

Series Information – No. 8 Florida vs. Arkansas
Razorbacks | 11-6 overall; 11-6 SEC

  *   This is the 49th meeting between the Gators and the Razorbacks
  *   Florida leads 45-3 (44-3 under Mary Wise)
  *   3-set: 26-1 | 4-set: 14-0 | 5-set: 5-2
  *   Home: 21-0 | Away: 18-2 | Neutral: 6-1
  *   Last Time Out: March 5, 2021 | Gainesville, Fla. | W, 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-21)

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