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UF Volleyball: Gators Top Lady Vols in Straight Sets

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY KATIE CALLAHAN

Behind an electric performance from T’ara Ceasar, Florida moved to 11-2 on the year

The eighth-ranked Florida volleyball team returned to action with a sweep of the Tennessee Lady Vols on Thursday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Florida improves to 11-2 on the year, while Tennessee drops to 6-5 in the conference-only format.

The Gators led off the day with a 25-20 victory in the first set, followed with a 25-18 victory in the second. UF finished the match with a 25-21 score in the third, securing the team’s ninth sweep of the season. In all three sets, Florida found itself down early but fought back to get the win in straight sets.

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T’ara Ceasar led the way offensively for Florida, posting 19 kills on the afternoon. She notched a .417 clip on a 19-4-36 performance.

Thayer Hall pitched in seven kills of her own, while middle blockers Lauren Dooley and Lauren Forte each finished with six kills apiece.

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, dishing out 34 assists in the match.

The Gators held Tennessee to a .133 clip on the afternoon and recorded 9.0 blocks as a squad. The SEC blocks leader Dooley led the way with eight stuffs at the net, while Holly Carlton posted five blocks of her own in the match.

Ceasar also led the backcourt defense for Florida, finishing the three-setter with 15 digs – her fourth double-double of the season. Libero Elli McKissock followed with 12, while Monserez and Hall each registered nine digs in the match.

As a team, Florida recorded five service aces, led by two from Ceasar. Hall, McKissock, and Paige Hammons each pitched in one ace as well.

The Gators are back in action on Friday to finish the series with the Lady Vols. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network and can also be heard on 98.1 FM/850 AM.

Records
No. 8 Florida (11-2, 11-2 SEC)
Tennessee (6-5, 6-5 SEC)

How It Happened

  *   Tennessee hopped out to a 9-4 lead in the first set, forcing Florida to utilize its first timeout early. The Gators answered with an 11-6 run out of the break to tie the frame at 15-15 midway through the set. Florida continued to inch ahead, forcing the Lady Vols to use their second timeout after UF took the 18-16 advantage. The Gators notched three straight blocks to take the 21-16 lead before Tennessee pulled back to within two at 21-19. UF closed out the frame with a 4-1 run, securing the 25-20 victory.
  *   The Gators held Tennessee to a .049 clip in the first frame and notched 6.0 blocks as a squad, led by five from Dooley and four from Carlton. Ceasar led the way offensively, recording six kills in the frame.
  *   The Lady Vols once again jumped out to the early lead, going up 4-0 in the frame. The Gators responded, going on a 9-3 run to take the 9-7 lead. The squads began trading points, with neither team holding more than a two-point advantage until UF pulled ahead 18-15 late – forcing a Tennessee timeout. Out of that break, Florida went on a 7-3 run to close out the set behind the serves of Paige Hammons, Monserez, and Hall, putting UF up 2-0 in the match.
     *   The Gators hit .343 in the second set, led by five kills from Forte and four kills from Ceasar. Florida’s defense kept Tennessee below a .150 clip in the second set as well.
  *   For the third straight set, the Lady Vols jumped out to the early lead, this time holding the 9-3 advantage over Florida. The Gators answered with a 9-2 run, pulling ahead 12-11 and forcing Tennessee to utilize its first timeout. The squads kept it close through the middle portion of the frame, registering six ties. With Florida leading 20-19, the Gators closed out the frame on a 5-2 run, thanks in part to three kills from Ceasar.
     *   Florida hit .300 in the final frame behind nine kills from Ceasar. Hall added four of her own in the set on a .444 clip, while Dooley tallied two blocks at the net.

Notables

  *   T’ara Ceasar recorded her fourth double-double of the season, registering 19 kills and 15 digs on the afternoon. Ceasar also posted a .417 clip (19-4-36)
  *   Paige Hammons tallied one service ace on the day, putting her at 109 for her career. She is just 18 aces away from breaking into the Top 10 in program history
  *   The Gators improve to 52-13 in the all-time series against Tennessee
  *   Florida is now 40-2 in three-set matches against Tennessee
  *   The Gators are now 24-5 in Knoxville, Tenn.
  *   UF moves to 9-0 in three-set matches this season

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  *   “In this go, stop, go season of late, it was a high-effort match with both teams playing hard. T’ara Ceasar had one of those special performances that we will remember for a while.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators return to action on Friday to close out the series with Tennessee
  *   First serve is slated for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network

No. 8 Florida at Tennessee – Broadcast Information
Time: 1 p.m.
Live Stream: SEC Network
Live Stats: Sidearm
Radio: ESPN 98.1FM/850AM

Series Information – No. 8 Florida at Tennessee
Lady Vols | 6-5 overall; 6-5 SEC

  *   This is the 66th meeting between the Gators and the Lady Vols
  *   Florida leads 52-13 (48-8 under Mary Wise)
  *   3-set: 40-2 | 4-set: 10-4 | 5-set: 2-7
  *   Home: 27-7 | Away: 24-5 | Neutral: 1-1
  *   Last Time Out: Feb. 25, 2021 | Knoxville, Tenn. | W, 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-21)

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