Special report on the Florida Gators volleyball team:
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The fourth-ranked Florida volleyball team topped South Carolina on Wednesday night, sweeping the Gamecocks in the Carolina Volleyball Center.
Florida moves to 5-0 to begin the year and the team has not dropped a set thus far. The last time a UF team started 5-0 without dropping a set was 2011, when the team began the season 6-0.
The Gators won the first set handily, defeating South Carolina 25-17 in the frame. Florida continued to control the momentum, winning the second frame 25-17 and then closed out the match with a tightly-contested 25-22 win in the third set.
Thayer Hall led the offensive charge for the Gators, notching 13 kills and a .400 clip on the evening. Holly Carlton was close behind, finishing with 10 kills on 18 swings for a .500 clip.
T’ara Ceasar posted nine kills, while Marlie Monserez added six to round out the offensive attack for Florida.
Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, dishing out 29 assists in the three-setter. Monserez led the team to a .319 clip on the evening, the team’s second-best performance of the season.
As a squad, the Gators collected 9.0 blocks, led by the trio Lauren Dooley (5), Nnedi Okammor (4) and Carlton (4). Hall also added three blocks of her own during the match.
Paula Cerame posted a career-high 19 digs in the three-setter, surpassing her previous career-best of 14. Ceasar added a season-high 10 digs, while Elli McKissock registered seven on the evening.
The Gators are back in action on Thursday for a 3 p.m. matchup with South Carolina to close out the two-match series. The match will stream on the SEC Network +.
No. 4 Florida (5-0, 5-0 SEC)
South Carolina (4-3, 4-3 SEC)
How It Happened
- Florida got out to the early 5-0 lead behind two kills from Carlton and a strong service run by Hall. South Carolina halted the run and pulled within three at 7-4, but the Gators were able to comfortably hold at least a five-point lead for a majority of the frame. With Florida leading 21-13, South Carolina used its second timeout to its advantage, recording a 4-0 run out of the break to pull within four at 21-17. Florida came out of its own timeout firing, answering with a 4-0 run of its own to win the first set 25-17.
- The Gators had a strong clip in the first set, hitting .385, led by six kills from Hall. Ceasar added four kills of her own, while Monserez dished out 11 assists in the frame.
- The beginning of the second set was a battle, but with the game tied 7-7, the Gators won a challenge to shift the momentum and go on a 3-0 run to force a SC timeout. The two squads continued to trade points, with the Gamecocks pulling to within two at 13-11, but Florida posted a 7-2 run to go up 20-13 in the frame. South Carolina would not be able to chip into the Gators’ lead, with UF taking the set 25-17.
- Florida once again put up a strong offensive effort in the second set, hitting .353 as a team. Carlton recorded a set-high six kills, while Monserez recorded three kills and nine assists in the frame.
- To kick off the third set, the Gators held the early 5-2 lead, but that advantage was quickly diminished. South Carolina held the slight edge through the middle of the set, taking a 15-13 lead. Behind the serves of Ceasar, the Gators went on a 5-0 run to once again take ahold of the lead at 18-15. South Carolina continued to battle, taking the 22-21 lead late in the frame, but the Gators answered with a 4-0 run behind the serves of Monserez to secure the sweep.
- Hall led the way with five kills in the third frame, while Ceasar pitched in three. Monserez, Carlton and Dooley each registered two kills apiece to secure the victory for Florida.
- Cerame recorded a career-high 19 digs, surpassing her previous career-high of 14 (Dayton | 8/31/19)
- Florida is now 5-0 and has not dropped a set to start the season. The last time the Gators did that was in 2011, when the team started 6-0 without dropping a set
- The Gators held South Carolina to a .114 clip on the evening. Florida sits first in the nation in opponent hitting percentage
- Florida improves 59-7 in the all-time series against South Carolina
- The Gators are now 45-2 against the Gamecocks in three-set matches
- Florida improves to 27-5 against South Carolina in Columbia
- The Gators remain undefeated this season with just three matches left to play this fall
- Florida has now had five consecutive sweeps, the first time since 9/17/19-9/27/19 (five matches)
Thoughts from Coach Wise
- “Thayer [Hall] and Holly [Carlton] were particularly good offensively and our blocking game continues to be a strength of this team.”
- The Gators return right back to action on Thursday for a 3 p.m. matchup with the Gamecocks
- The match is set to stream on the SEC Network +