UF roundup: Volleyball team tops Ole Miss Rebels in straight sets
The 22nd-ranked Florida volleyball team closed out the series against the Ole Miss Rebels with a dominant three-set victory Sunday in Exactech Arena.
“Six-straight sets with us playing as good defensively as we have played all season, doing so against a very talented offense,” UF coach Mary Wise said.
The Gators (10-5, 4-1 SEC) took the first set 25-17 and followed with a commanding 25-13 victory in the second. Florida secured the final frame with a 9-0 run over the final stretch to win 25-17 over Ole Miss (12-3, 1-3 SEC).
Merritt Beason and T’ara Ceasar each registered a nine-kill performance, leading Florida’s offensive attack. Thayer Hall added eight kills, while middle blockers Lauren Forte (5) and Lauren Dooley (4) combined for nine kills.
Marlie Monserez led the Gators to a .349 clip, recording 32 assists.
The Gators were a force at the net, recording 13.0 blocks while holding the Rebels to a .040 clip. Beason and Dooley led the way, recording six blocks apiece – that mark tied Beason’s career-high mark. Forte and Hall each registered four blocks, while Ceasar round it out with three.
Florida’s backcourt defensive effort was led by 12 digs from Ceasar. Elli McKissock followed with nine digs in the libero jersey, while Hall, Beason and Monserez added six, five and four, respectively.
Trinity Adams led the way behind the service line, recording two aces in the match. Beason, Ceasar and Hall each added one apiece.
The Gators are back in action next weekend, when they travel to LSU to take on the Tigers in a two-match series beginning Oct. 9.
On Saturday, Florida swept Ole Miss to serve up the series.
"It took a complete team defensive effort in order for us to win this match," UF coach Mary Wise said. "A lot of credit to the players in following the game plan and executing it."
The Gators took the first set 25-19, then followed up with a decisive 25-14 victory in the second. Florida secured the match with a 25-16 win in the final frame.
Florida's offensive attack was led by Thayer Hall, who posted 14 kills with a .375 clip. T'ara Ceasar pitched in 12 kills, while Lauren Forte and Merritt Beason registered 11 and nine kills, respectively.
Marlie Monserez dished out 42 assists in the match, leading the team to a .444 clip.
The Gators held the Rebels to just a .107 clip in the match, the lowest output for Ole Miss this season. Florida notched seven blocks at the net, led four from Lauren Dooley and three from Hall.
Elli McKissock and Ceasar each recorded a team-high 13 digs to lead the backcourt defense. Monserez added 10 for her fifth double-double of the season, while Beason and Hall recorded seven and six, respectively.
Florida lost a hard-fought 1-0 Sunday match to Mississippi (8-2-2, 3-1 SEC) at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
It was Florida's first loss in league action. The Gators (3-6-3, 2-1-1) are now tied for second in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division.
"I thought we played well enough to win the game," UF coach Tony Amato said. "We had double digit shots and their keeper had six saves. It really wasn't a cohesion thing. I thought we did well to find feet, and then create opportunities.
"There have been some games earlier in the year where we haven't been able to create enough chances. I thought today we did. It was really about the final product in terms of finishing some of those chances and really executing in those moments. That's really the next step for us."
The only goal of the match came in the 13th minute. The Rebels' Mo O'Connor sent a centering pass to middle of box for Channing Foster. She spun and hit a left-footed shot to the far corner.
The Gators did have their opportunities. Redshirt sophomore Nicole Vernis' goal was called off due to offsides. Florida stepped up their attack in the second half, recording seven shots.
Florida faces its fifth-ranked opponent of the season Thursday at No. 15 Tennessee. The match is set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.