NCAA volleyball tournament: Florida plays at top-seeded Louisville in Sweet 16

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Florida Gators outside hitter Thayer Hall (20) hits the ball during the third set at the NCAA Volleyball Championship at Exactech Arena in Gainesville, FL on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Florida, the 16th overall seed, will have its hands full this week if it's to advance to the NCAA volleyball tournament region final. The Gators (22-8) play the region semifinal at top seed Louisville (30-0) on Thursday.

The Gators are making their 28th Sweet 16 appearance in program history, including five consecutive trips.

"We are thrilled that we are one of 16 teams," said Florida coach Mary Wise, who surpassed the 1,000th-career-wins milestone this past weekend. 

Florida will again be without injured All-SEC performer T'ara Ceasar against Louisville, the only remaining unbeaten team in Division I. The Cardinals have beaten three Top Ten teams in 9 days: No. 6 Purdue, No. 8 Kentucky and No. 6 Nebraska. The Cards set an attendance record of 1,258 for the L&N Federal Credit Union Arena in Louisville vs. Kentucky.

"This is our third Sweet 16 in a row and it wasn't that long ago when just that was a huge goal for us, so it's pretty exciting that we're back there for a third time," Louisville coach Dani Busboom Kelly said.

Thursday's match is set for 1 p.m. on ESPNU.