Florida sweeps Tennessee to close out series

Special to Gatorsports.com

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —The No. 8 Florida volleyball team won its seventh consecutive contest Friday after defeating Tennessee in three sets.

The Gators improve to 12-2, while Tennessee falls to 6-6 on the year.

"This was a match where we had to grind it out," UF coach Mary Wise said. "Kills were hard to come by due to Tennessee’s defense. Really proud of our group’s effort these two matches.”

Florida took a tight first set 25-23, then battled in extras to grab the second set 29-27. The Gators held all the momentum in the final set, winning 25-16 to secure the sweep.

UF had an incredibly balanced offensive attack, with T’ara Ceasar (12) and Thayer Hall (11) combining for 23 kills.

Lauren Forte posted eight kills of her own on 15 swings, tying her season-best mark. Marlie Monserez followed with a seven-kill performance, a career-high for the junior setter. Monserez dished out 36 assists as well, averaging 12.00 per set. 

The Gators held Tennessee to a .157 clip in the match, notching 11.0 blocks at the net. Lauren Dooley and Holly Carlton led the way with five blocks apiece, while Hall pitched in two.

Freshman libero Elli McKissock led the Gators in the backcourt, registering 19 digs in the match. Monserez followed with 12, while Ceasar added 10 — both securing their fifth double-double of the season.

Florida finished with five service aces, including two apiece from Ceasar and Hall.

The Gators return to Exactech Arena for a two-match series with Arkansas beginning on March 5. Both matches will be streamed on the SEC Network +.