By Jim Harvin, Correspondent
The No. 11 Florida volleyball team won a season-high 10th consecutive match while recording its 19th victory in the last 20 contests with a 3-0 sweep of LSU before an Exactech Arena crowd of 2,790 Friday.
With their 25-20, 25-19, 25-18 win, the Gators improved to 21-3 overall and 12-1 in Southeastern Conference while the Tigers slipped to 13-11, 7-7.
“The thing with LSU is they’re young,” UF head coach Mary Wise said. “They’re going to be a very, very formidable opponent when you think about the next few years. They have a lot of talent, and most of it is in their youth.”
UF, which is seeking its 24th SEC regular-season title in 29 seasons under Wise, entered the match ranked among the top three in the league in hitting percentage (2nd, .271), opponent hitting efficiency (2nd, .178) and blocks per set (1st, 2.60).
The Gators hit.387 in the win, recording six team blocks while serving seven aces.
Junior Paige Hammons led Florida with 13 kills and added eight digs while hitting a solid .440.
Sophomore Thayer Hall was right behind with 12 kills and five digs, while junior Holly Carlton gave the Gators three players in double-digit kills with 11 to go with a .500 hitting mark and a match-high five block assists.
In addition, Hammons and Hall each had two of UF’s seven aces.
“Several people had a great night,” Hammons said. “I thought Rachael Kramer and Holly Carlton put up great numbers, Marlie Monserez was giving us great looks, and LSU was a great team with (Taylor) Bannister over there.
“I think we worked really hard together as a team.”
Monserez, the reigning SEC Setter of the Week, recorded a match-high 40 assists and added an ace for the Gators.
Other UF standouts included Kramer (nine kills, two block assists, .400 hitting mark), sophomore Lauren Dooley (four block assists, three kills, .400 hitting mark) and senior libero Allie Gregory (match-high 12 digs).
Bannister had 13 kills to pace the Tigers, sharing match-high honors with UF’s Hammons while adding three aces, four digs, four block assists and a .407 hitting mark.
“Everybody brings their best shot when they’re playing the Gators,” Gregory said. “LSU has had some great wins this season, so we wanted to give our best shot to LSU. I thought we executed that tonight.”
UF returns to the O-Dome to face No. 17 Kentucky (18-6, 11-2) Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Wildcats, the defending SEC champs, handed Florida its lone SEC defeat, rallying from a 2-1 deficit to post a 3-2 decision on Oct. 6 in Lexington.
“At least this time it won’t be the first time we’ve played Kentucky,” Wise noted. “I think it will be a great match, and I hope that we get a whole bunch of folks out here to take it in.”