Gators sweep Razorbacks to open volleyball series

Special to Gatorsports.com

 In a battle of two of the top three volleyball teams in the SEC on Friday, the eighth-ranked Florida swept Arkansas in Exactech Arena.

The Gators improved to 13-2 after their eighth consecutive win, while Arkansas dropped to 11-6.

Florida took the first set in dominating fashion, topping the Razorbacks 25-16. The Gators continued to roll, winning the second set 25-19 before securing the match with a 25-21 victory in the third.

Thayer Hall led the way on the offense front, collecting 16 kills on a career-best .667 clip. Holly Carlton followed with nine kills, while T’ara Ceasar added eight of her own.

“It is all about being able to place your serve and mix it up," Hall said. "We are doing a great job with our first ball contacts as well. Over the last two matches, we have played Tennessee and Arkansas — two of the top three teams in the league in terms of digs per set, so for us to come out with a sweep is big.”

Marlie Monserez anchored Florida’s offense, leading the team to a .364 while dishing out 32 assists.

Florida held Arkansas to a .141 clip, while collecting 13.5 blocks at the net. Lauren Dooley was a force Friday evening, registering eight blocks in the three-set match. Carlton added five blocks of her own at the net, while Monserez and Ceasar added four and three, respectively.

Elli McKissock paced the backcourt defense for Florida, recording 16 digs. Monserez added 12 of her own, securing her sixth double-double of the year, while Hall pitched in eight.

Florida recorded five service aces as a team, led by two from Hall. Paige Hammons, Ceasar and McKissock each finished with one apiece.

The Gators turn right around to close out the series with Arkansas on Saturday at 6 p.m. The match will be streamed on the SEC Network + and can be heard on FloridaGators.com/watch.