Florida Gators volleyball defeats 10th ranked Minnesota at home

Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The fifth-ranked Florida Gators opened their home season with a victory over No. 10 Minnesota, defeating the Golden Gophers in four sets.


Florida took the first set 25-20, then followed with another tough-fought 25-19 victory in the second set. Minnesota claimed the third set 25-22, but the Gators stormed back take the fourth set 25-23 and secure the win.


Four Gators hit double-digit kills in the match, with T’ara Ceasar leading the way with a season-high 19 kills. Lauren Forte and Merritt Beason each recorded 16 kills on the afternoon, while Thayer Hall added 11.


The 16 kills for Beason were a career-high, while Forte’s 16 were a Florida-career-high.


Marlie Monserez captained Florida’s offense to a .306 clip on the afternoon, while dishing out a season-high 56 assists.


As a team, Florida held Minnesota to a .223 clip and posted 6.0 blocks at the net. Lauren Dooley notched a team-best four blocks, while Hall added three on afternoon.


Four Gators posted double-digit digs on the night as well, with Elli McKissock recording a team-high 19. Monserez posted 14 for her second double-double of the year, while Ceasar and Hall each notched their first double-doubles of the season with 14 and 10 kills, respectively.


Florida recorded eight service aces in the four-setter, led by four from McKissock – tying her career-best mark. Hall added three, while Ceasar pitched in one in the win.


The Gators are back in action on Friday, Sept. 10 when the ninth-ranked Baylor Bears comes to Exactech Arena for a two-match series. First serve for Friday’s match is slated for 8 p.m. on the SEC Network, while Saturday’s match will begin at 7 p.m. on SEC Network +.


No. 5 Florida (3-1)
No. 10 Minnesota (1-2)


How It Happened

  • The first set belonged to the Gators from the jump after Florida got out to a 7-1 lead behind the serves of McKissock. The Golden Gophers pulled to within four at 8-4, but the Gators were once again able to create some distance, taking the 19-14 lead late in the frame. Minnesota cut Florida’s lead to just three at 22-19, but Florida closed the set out on a 3-1 run to take the match lead.
    • UF hit .385 in the first frame, while holding Minnesota to a .237 clip. Ceasar and Forte each recorded a team-high six kills in the set.
  • Florida once again jumped out to the early lead, this time taking a 6-1 advantage behind the serves of Hall. The Golden Gophers remained in striking distance, pulling to within two at 12-10, forcing a Florida timeout, but of the break, the Gators exploded on a 4-0 run to take thecommanding six-point lead at 16-10. Minnesota strung together a run of its own, pulling to within three at 16-13, but Florida swung the momentum back in its direction to take another six-point lead at 23-17. The Gators closed out the frame on kills from Monserez and Hall to go up 2-0 in the match.
    • The Gators hit .333 in the second frame and kept the Golden Gophers to just nine kills and a .115 clip. Forte led the way offensively, registering seven kills in the set.
  • The third set was a back-and-forth battle from the start, with neither holding more than a two-point lead until Florida jumped ahead 7-4. The Golden Gophers tied it at 7-7 after a 3-0 run, then the two squads traded points until Minnesota took the 15-14 lead into the media timeout. Out of the break, the Golden Gophers continued to roll, taking the three-point lead at 17-14. Florida tied the set up once again at 21-21 behind a McKissock service ace, but Minnesota closed out the frame with a 4-1 run to force a fourth set.
    • UF was led by five kills apiece from Beason and Hall in the third frame, while Ceasar pitched in four of her own.
  • The Gators jumped out to the early 7-1 lead in the fourth set, but the Golden Gophers hung around, eventually tying the frame at 13-apiece. The two teams were locked in a dead-heat battle from that point on, but with the Gators down one at 23-22, the squad went on a 3-0 run to secure the match victory.
    • Florida held the Golden Gophers to a .182 clip in the fourth frame and offensively, Florida was led by Ceasar who posted seven kills in the set.


  • The last time four Gators posted double-digit digs was in the Regional Final against Wisconsin on April 19, 2021
  • Marlie Monserez posted her second double-double of the season, finishing with 56 assists and 14 digs
  • T’ara Ceasar recorded her first double-double of the year, recording 19 kills and 14 digs
  • Thayer Hall recorded her first double-double of the season, finishing with 11 kills and 10 digs
  • Merritt Beason registered a career-high 16 kills on the afternoon
  • Lauren Forte recorded a Florida-career-high with 16 kills on the night
  • The Gators improve to 2-5 against the Golden Gophers
  • Florida is now 1-2 against Minnesota in four-set matches
  • The Gators improve to 2-2 against the Golden Gophers in Gainesville, Fla.
  • UF is now 1-1 in four-set matches during the 2021 campaign
  • Mary Wise now sits at 983 career victories, on pace to hit 1,000 during the season
  • With her 56 assists in the match, Marlie Monserez put herself into the Top-10 in program history in career assists with 2,691, surpassing Kelly Murphy (2,671)

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  • “Against one of the all-time best performances we’ve ever witnessed in the O’Dome, we had to compete so hard to be able to match the play of Stephanie Samedy.”

Up Next

  • Florida continues its home stretch with a two-series matchup against the ninth-ranked Baylor Bears on Sept. 10 and 11
  • Friday’s first serve is slated for 8 p.m. on the SEC Network
  • Saturday’s match is set to begin at 7 p.m. on SEC Network +

No. 5 Florida vs. No. 9 Baylor Broadcast Information – Sept. 10
Date & Time:
Sept. 5 | 2 p.m.
TV Network: SEC Network 
Live Stream:
SEC Network  
Live Stats:


No. 5 Florida vs. No. 9 Baylor Broadcast Information – Sept. 11
Date & Time:
Sept. 5 | 2 p.m.
Live Stream:
Live Stats:


Series Information – No. 5 Florida vs. No. 9 Baylor
Bears | 2021 season synopsis: 1-3

  • This is the third meeting between the Gators and the Bears
  • Florida leads 2-0 (1-0 under Mary Wise)
  • 3-set: 2-0 | 4-set: 0-0 | 5-set: 0-0
  • Home: 1-0 | Away: 0-0 | Neutral: 1-0
  • Last Time Out: Sept. 13, 1991 | Fullerton, Calif. | W, 3-0 (15-11, 15-6, 15-4)
Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.