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No. 4 Gators beat Tigers in straight sets to start volleyball season

Special to Gatorsports.com

AUBURN, Ala. — Fourth-ranked Florida started the fall portion of the 2020 volleyball season on a high note Wednesday, defeating Auburn in straight sets.

Florida took the first set in dominating fashion, winning 25-14. The Gators held all the control in the second set, taking the frame 25-14 once again and then followed with a 25-20 win in the final set to clinch the season opener.

Florida has now won 28 season openers and four-straight.

"We certainly know more about ourselves after tonight and now we can see how quickly we can make adjustments playing the same team 24 hours later,” UF coach Mary Wise said.

In her Gator debut, redshirt junior T’ara Ceasar recorded a team-high 11 kills on 22 swings for a .364 clip. Junior Thayer Hall added nine kills of her own, while classmate Haley Warner registered five kills all in the third set.

Marlie Monserez captained the Florida offense, dishing out 29 assists on the evening. The junior setter also recorded a team-high 11 digs, notching her first double-double of the year.

UF held Auburn to just a .009 clip on the evening, recording nine team blocks in the process. Ceasar led the way with five blocks – three solo, two assists – while redshirt seniors Holly Carlton and Darrielle King each pitched in three blocks apiece.

In her first match as libero, Paula Cerame totaled 10 digs, while Ceasar added eight of her own.  

The Gators are right back in action tonight to finish the two-match series against the Tigers. First serve is slated for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.

Notes: Florida is 50-2 against Auburn, including a 46-1 record under Mary Wise. UF remains undefeated in three-set matches against the Tigers, improving to 37-0