Florida opens volleyball season with sweep of San Francisco

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The sixth-ranked Florida volleyball team opened its season with a 3-0 win over San Francisco in the Hornet Invitational.

The Gators will play two Saturday, against UC Davis (1 p.m. ET) and host Sacramento State (10 p.m. ET). All matches will air on ESPN+.

Florida took the first set handily, 25-10. The Gators kept it rolling in the second set, 25-12, before closing out the match with a 25-12 win in the final frame for its 29th season- opening win, including five in a row.

“In the first match of the year, our veterans played like veterans and our new players played beyond their age," UF coach Mary Wise said. "It was a good start to the season.”

The Gators tallied 35 kills in the sweep, led by nine from T'ara Ceasar. In her Gator debut, Merritt Beason posted eight kills, while Thayer Hall, Marlie Monserez and Sofia Victoria each recorded four apiece in the match.

In her collegiate debut, Gabrielle Essix added three kills and a block.

Six players hit over .400 in the match: Beason (8-0-12, .667), Ceasar (9-3-15, .400), Lauren Forte (1-0-2, .500), Hall (4-0-6, .667), Monserez (4-0-5, .800) and Nnedi Okammor (2-0-2, 1.000).

Monserez captained Florida's offense to a .491 clip and dished out 25 assists.

The Gators held the Dons to a -.041 clip in the match, the lowest clip for an opponent since Sept. 27, 2018 against Auburn (-.041). Florida posted six blocks at the net, led by two apiece from Okammor and Beason.

Monserez paced the backcourt defense with a team-high eight digs, followed by five apiece from libero Elli McKissock and Hall. Ceasar and Beason both notched four digs of their own on the night.