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UF Volleyball: Gators Sweep Rebels to Start Spring Season

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY KATIE CALLAHAN

Balanced offensive attack leads Florida to the sweep

The 10th-ranked Florida volleyball team kicked off the spring portion of the schedule with a sweep over the Ole Miss Rebels on Friday afternoon.

Florida moves to 7-2 in this conference-only format, while Ole Miss drops to 0-7 overall.

The Gators won the first two sets in close fashion, taking the first 25-20 and the second 25-21. Florida then clinched the match with a decisive 25-13 victory in the final frame.

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T’ara Ceasar led the offensive charge for the Gators, notching 12 kills in the match on a .348 clip.

Holly Carlton posted a phenomenal .667 clip with eight kills on the afternoon, while Thayer Hall posted eight kills of her own with a .353 attack percentage. In her Gator debut, Lauren Forte posted three kills on three swings.

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, dishing out 31 assists in the three-setter. She led the team to a .431 hit clip on the afternoon – the team’s best performance of the 2020-21 season.

The Gators held Ole Miss to the .101 clip on the afternoon, including a -.083 in the final frame. Nnedi Okammor led the defensive effort at the net, totaling four blocks in the match, while Carlton added two of her own.

In just her second start in the libero jersey, Elli McKissock tallied a team-high seven digs. Monserez added five, while Ceasar pitched in four of her own.

Florida racked up five service aces in the match, led by a career-high two from McKissock.

The Gators are right back in action on Saturday to close out the series with the Rebels. First serve is slated 3 p.m. ET on the SEC Network + and can be heard on 98.1 FM/850 AM.

Records
No. 10 Florida (7-2, 7-2 SEC)
Ole Miss (0-7, 0-7 SEC)

How It Happened

  *   The first set was back-and-forth from the start, with 11 ties and one lead change prior to the media timeout. The Gators took the 15-14 advantage into the break and continued to build their momentum, grabbing a four-point lead at the 18-14 mark. Ole Miss crept back to within two at 19-17, but Florida gave itself some breathing room with a 4-1 run to force a timeout by the Rebels at 23-18. Ole Miss got two back out of the timeout, but Ceasar and Okammor closed the frame with a kill apiece.
 *   As a squad, the Gators hit .393 in the first frame, and six players recorded at least one kill. Ceasar posted four kills in the set, while Carlton added three of her own.
  *   Ole Miss led early in the second set, but Florida strung together a 6-0 run behind the serves of Carlton to pull ahead 9-5. The Gators continued to hold the advantage throughout the middle of the frame, forcing an Ole Miss timeout at the 18-13 mark. Out of that break, the Rebels went on a 6-1 run of their own to tie it up 19-19, forcing Florida to utilize its first timeout of the set. The Gators came out swinging, going up 24-19 late. The Rebels pulled to within three at 24-21, but a Monserez kill capped the set and put Florida up 2-0 in the match.
 *   The Gators hit .320 in the second frame while holding Ole Miss to a .097 clip. Ceasar led the way with four kills, while Carlton and Hall each pitched in three of their own.
 *   Florida controlled the third set from the jump, never trailing in the frame. The Gators got up 10-5 before forcing an Ole Miss timeout. Out of that break, Florida continued to widen the gap, taking a nine-point lead at 18-9. The Rebels pulled to within seven at 18-11, but Florida closed out the frame on a 7-2 run to clinch the match.
 *   Florida hit an astounding .632 in the final frame, with Ceasar once again leading the way with four kills. Hall and Forte each tallied three kills, while Carlton added two to round out the match.

Notables

  *   The last time a Gator team hit over .400 was Oct. 30, 2020 vs. Alabama (.404)
  *   Lauren Forte made her Gator debut in the third set of the match, racking up three kills in her first match as a Gator
  *   The Gators move to 53-3 against the Rebels in series history, including an undefeated record of 47-0 under the helm of Mary Wise
  *   Florida improves to 44-0 against Ole Miss in three-set matches
  *   The Gators are now 26-3 in Oxford, Miss.

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  *   “In only one match we were able to see progress from the fall. Our goal now is to be able to make the necessary adjustments for tomorrow’s match.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators and the Rebels return to action on Saturday for a 3 p.m. ET matchup
  *   The second and final match of the series will air on SEC Network + and 98.1 FM/850 AM

No. 10 Florida at Ole Miss – Broadcast Information – Saturday, Jan. 30
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: SEC Network +
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Radio: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM

Series Information – No. 10 Florida at Ole Miss Rebels | 0-7 overall; 0-7 SEC

  *   This is the 57th meeting between the Gators and the Rebels
  *   Florida leads 53-3 (47-0 under Mary Wise)
  *   3-set: 44-0 | 4-set: 15-1 | 5-set: 4-2
  *   Home: 24-0 | Away: 26-3 | Neutral: 3-0
  *   Last Time Out: Jan. 29, 2021 | Oxford, Miss. | W, 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-13)