SEC volleyball: Gators continue winning streak, defeat South Carolina

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The 20th-ranked Florida volleyball team closed out the home portion of its schedule with a sweep over the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday afternoon in Exactech Arena.

The Gators extend their win streak to nine-consecutive matches and improve to 20-6 overall and 14-2 in league play. South Carolina falls to 14-13 in the 2021 campaign and 6-11 in the SEC with one match left to play.

"The adjustments we made from night one to night two were evident, especially one the defensive end where we put a lot of focus," UF coach Mary Wise said. "Credit to all aspects of the defense to do so."

Florida has now recorded 20 wins in 31-consecutive seasons, the longest active streak in the nation by nine seasons. Wise sits at 999 career victories.

The Gators picked up right where they left off on Saturday evening, winning the first set 25-12. UF followed with a 25-19 victory in the second set and clinched the match with a 25-20 win in the final frame.

Florida's was led on the offensive front by 14 kills from T'ara Ceasar. Thayer Hall pitched in 11 kills, while Merritt Beason followed with 10.

Marlie Monserez led the team to a .333 clip on the afternoon, dishing out 42 assists in the process.

The Gators tallied 10.0 blocks at the net and held South Carolina to a .111 hitting percentage. Bre Kelley and Beason each posted a team-high four blocks, followed by three from Monserez and Lauren Forte.

Elli McKissock tallied 18 digs to lead the way for Florida, followed by 17 from Ceasar. Hall added 14 digs, while Beason added nine.  

Hall posted a team-high three service aces in the match, while Trinity Adams, McKissock and Monserez each added one apiece.

Five UF seniors — Ceasar, Thayer Hall, Marlie Monserez, Lauren Forte and Lauren Dooley — were honored ahead of Sunday's match

The Gators close out the regular season with a two-match series at No. 8 Kentucky beginning Friday. Friday's match is slated for 1 p.m. on the SEC Network, while Saturday's match is set for 1 p.m. on SEC Network +.

From Saturday

Florida extended its win streak to eight matches after sweeping South Carolina.

The Gators improve to 19-6 on the year and 13-2 in the SEC with just three regular season matches to play, while the Gamecocks dropped to 14-12 overall and 6-10 in league play.

UF cruised to a 25-14 victory in the first set then followed with a 25-22 battle in the second. The Gators clinched the match with a 25-16 win in the final frame.

"An overall solid offensive night," Wise said. "We were able to do enough things to slow down the really good arms that South Carolina brings."

T'ara Ceasar led Florida's offense with 13 kills, while Thayer Hall pitched in 11 kills on a .611 clip. Bre Kelley added eight kills, followed by seven from Marlie Monserez and six apiece from Merritt Beason and Lauren Forte.

Monserez registered 40 assists, leading the team to a .454 clip – the second-highest hitting percentage on the year.

The Gators recorded eight blocks, led by five apiece from Kelley and Beason. Forte posted three blocks at the net, while Monserez rounded it out with two.

Florida's backcourt defense was led by Elli McKissock and Hall, who each posted a 12-dig performance. Monserez followed with eight digs, while Beason and Ceasar tallied six apiece.

McKissock led the Gators with two service aces, followed by one from Trinity Adams and one from Beason.