UF Volleyball: Gators Win Four-Set Battle Over LSU

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


The ninth-ranked team moves to 10-2 on the year after a series sweep

Box Score

The ninth-ranked Florida volleyball team closed out its series against the LSU Tigers on a high note, topping the Tigers in a four-set battle on Thursday night in Exactech Arena.

The Gators improve to 10-2 on the year, while LSU drops to 3-7 in the conference-only format.

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UF won the first set 25-17, but LSU answered with a 25-22 victory in the second frame. Florida grabbed the third set with a score of 25-20 and clinched the match with a 25-19 fourth-frame performance.

The outsides came up huge for Florida in the victory, with T’ara Ceasar and Thayer Hall combining for 39 kills. Ceasar posted a season-high 20 kills on the evening with a .425 clip – also a season-best mark. Hall registered 19 kills on the night, just one off her season-high performance.

Mia Sokolowski posted nine kills on 15 swings for a .467 clip, while Lauren Forte added eight kills of her own with a .700 attack percentage.

Holly Carlton stepped up in the setting role for the Gators, leading the squad to a .300 clip in the match. Carlton posted a career-high 55 assists, while also adding seven digs, four kills, three blocks, and three service aces.

The Gators held LSU to a .169 clip on the evening, while Lauren Dooley and Carlton each posted a team-high three blocks.

Elli McKissock was once again all over the backcourt on Thursday night, registering 22 digs. Ceasar notched a season-best 15 digs on the evening, securing her third double-double of year.

Paula Cerame recorded nine digs of her own, while Hall posted eight in the match.

As a team, Florida recorded seven service aces, led by Carlton’s three. McKissock and Ceasar each recorded two in the four-setter.

The Gators are back in action with a two-match series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs beginning on Feb. 19 in Starkville, Miss. Both matches are slated for a 6 p.m. first serve.

No. 9 Florida (10-2, 10-2 SEC)
LSU (3-7, 3-7 SEC)

How It Happened

  *   Florida and LSU kept it tight through the first portion of the opening frame, with Florida holding the slight lead at 7-6. UF went on an 8-3 run behind the serves of Riley Fischer and Paula Cerame to go into the media timeout up 15-9. Out of the break, Florida gained a seven-point lead, but LSU answered with a 5-0 run to cut UFs lead to 18-16. The Gators continued to hold the Tigers at a distance, going up 22-17 late to force LSU to use its final timeout. Out of the timeout, three straight kills ended the frame and put Florida up 1-0 in the match.
     *   The Gators hit a stellar .485 in the first frame, led by seven kills from Ceasar and five from Hall. Carlton posted 16 assists in the frame, while as a team, Florida recorded 18 digs.
  *   LSU hopped out to the early 6-3 lead in the second frame, but the Gators answered with an 8-1 run, thanks in part to a string of kills from outsides Hall and Ceasar. The Tigers answered with a run of their own, going on a 5-0 spurt to go up 12-11, forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators pulled ahead at 13-12, but the Tigers tied the frame at 13-all and would not trail again, taking the set 25-22.
     *   Florida was led by nine kills from Hall in the second frame, while Ceasar added four. Ceasar also notched seven digs in the frame, pushing her into double-double territory.
  *   The two squads traded points for a majority of the third frame, but with the set tied 17-17, the Gators went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead of the Tigers. From that point on, Florida kept at least a three-point lead over LSU, claiming the 25-20 victory after back-to-back kills from Ceasar.
     *   Florida held LSU to a .024 clip in the third frame, while Ceasar (5) and Hall (4) combined for nine kills to secure the frame.
  *   Behind the serves of Holly Carlton, the Gators hopped out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. Florida continued to hold the advantage, going up six points at the 10-4 mark to force LSU to use its first timeout. The Tigers pulled to within two at 11-9, but the Gators grew their lead back to five at the 19-14 mark. LSU attempted to slash Florida’s lead but would not get closer than three points as the Gators went on to win the set 25-19 and secure their 10th victory of the season.
     *   Florida posted a .345 clip in the final frame, led by four kills from Ceasar. Sokolowski and Hall each pitched in three kills in the set as well, while Carlton posted 13 assists.


  *   Holly Carlton posted a new career-high in assists with 55, besting her previous high of 51 (at North Carolina)
  *   T’ara Ceasar recorded her third double-double of the year, recording 19 kills and 15 digs
  *   The 19 kills were a season-best for the redshirt junior, besting her previous season-high by one
  *   Elli McKissock 22 digs on the evening, her second-straight performance of 20+ digs
  *   The Gators improve to 48-13 against the Tigers in the all-time series, including a 45-5 record under Mary Wise
  *   Florida moves to 15-6 against LSU in four-set matches
  *   UF is now 25-4 against the Tigers in Gainesville, Fla.
  *   The Gators improve to 2-1 in four-set matches during the 2020-21 campaign
  *   Florida is now 532-69 at home since the inception of the program in 1984

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  *   “We’ve talked about how one of our strengths was going to be our depth. The way Holly Carlton stepped up running the 5-1, alongside the play of all three pin hitters – T’ara, Thayer, and Mia – was the difference-maker today.”

Up Next

  *   The Gators are back in action on Feb. 19 as the team travels to Starkville, Miss. for a two-match series with the Mississippi State Bulldogs
  *   Both matches are slated for a 7 p.m. ET start time