Gators dump Vols in straight sets for volleyball win

Special to Gatorsports.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The eighth-ranked Florida volleyball team returned to action with a sweep of Tennessee on Thursday afternoon.

Florida improves to 11-2, while Tennessee drops to 6-5 in the conference-only format.

The Gators led off the day with a 25-20 win in the first set, followed with a 25-18 decision in the second. UF finished the match with a 25-21 score in the third, securing the team’s ninth sweep of the season. In all three sets, Florida found itself down early, but fought back to get the win in straight sets.

T’ara Ceasar led the way offensively for Florida, posting 19 kills on the afternoon. She notched a .417 clip on a 19-4-36 performance.

“In this go, stop, go season of late, it was a high effort match with both teams playing hard," UF coach Mary Wise said. "T’ara Ceasar had one of those special performances that we will remember for a while.”

Thayer Hall pitched in seven kills of her own, while middle blockers Lauren Dooley and Lauren Forte each finished with six kills apiece.

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, dishing out 34 assists in the match.

The Gators held Tennessee to a .133 clip on the afternoon and recorded 9.0 blocks as a squad. The SEC blocks leader Dooley led the way with eight stuffs at the net, while Holly Carlton posted five blocks of her own in the match.

Ceasar also led the backcourt defense for Florida, finishing the three-setter with 15 digs — her fourth double-double of the season. Libero Elli McKissock followed with 12, while Monserez and Hall each registered nine digs in the match.

Florida recorded five service aces, led by two from Ceasar. Hall, McKissock and Paige Hammons each pitched in one ace as well.

The Gators are back in action Friday to finish the series with the Vols. First serve is slated for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network and can also be heard on 98.1 FM/850 AM.