UF volleyball drops USF, James Madison

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Thayer Hall led the Gators in kills for the fourth time this season Friday vs. USF. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

 The No. 11 Florida volleyball team defeated USF and James Madison on Friday to open play in the Honda of Gainesville Gators Invitational at the O’Connell Center.

UF (4-2) defeated South Florida 3-1 to snap a two-match losing streak earlier Friday before sweeping James Madison at night.

The Gators took the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-20, respectively, before falling 25-19 in the third set. Florida then rallied to win the fourth set 25-13.

Thayer Hall led the offense attack for Florida, recording 14 kills on the day. Holly Carlton added 11 kills of her own, while Darrielle King and Paige Hammons each pitched in seven during the match. Marlie Monserez dished out 31 assists during the afternoon, as well as a career-high six kills.

Allie Gregory led the way with 11 digs on the afternoon, while Monserez added nine. Three players (Paige Hammons, Thayer Hall and Paula Cerame) all pitched in eight digs in the match.

Florida notched seven blocks as a team, led by four from Lauren Dooley.

“Over the years we have seen this in terms of playing in-state teams,” UF coach Mary Wise said. “They are always well-prepared to play hard and South Florida definitely did that this afternoon.”

USF falls to  3-4 and James Madison is 4-4.

In the nightcap, the Gators took the first set 25-20 and followed up with a 25-11 win in the second frame. Florida then closed out the match with a 25-17 win in the third.

Florida’s offense was led by Thayer Hall, who registered 10 kills on the evening. Holly Carlton added nine during the match and Paige Hammons and Marlie Monserez both pitched in six. 

Monserez dished out 27 assists on the night, while Allie Gregory and Thayer Hall recorded nine digs, a team-high.

Lauren Dooley notched a career-high six blocks and Darrielle King added four of her own.

“The players did a really good job with the quick turnaround,” Wise said. “They sustained focus over all three sets tonight.”

 The Gators are back in action Saturday at 5 p.m. against Long Beach State.