NCAA volleyball tournament: Florida takes on top-seeded Louisville

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Florida libero Elli McKissock digs the ball during the third set last Thursday against the FAMU Rattlers in the NCAA volleyball tourney at Exactech Arena.

Even without injured All-SEC performer T'Ara Ceaser, Florida appears to be peaking at the right time in the NCAA volleyball tournament.

We'll find out for sure today, when the Gators (22-8), the 16th overall seed, play at top-seeded Louisville (30-0) at 1 p.m. on ESPNU in the regional semifinal. The winner will play the winner of eight-seeded Georgia Tech (25-5) vs. nine seed Ohio State (27-5) for the region championship at 6 p.m. Saturday at Freedom Hall in Louisville. 

The Gators proved they deserved their top 16 seed with a sweep over Miami in the second round after sweeping Florida A&M to open the tournament last week in Gainesville. Sofia Victoria and Thayer Hall put up 13 kills apiece in the win over UM and Elli McKissock tallied 23 digs.

Florida and Louisville are facing one another for the ninth time in program history. The Gators hold the 8-0 series advantage, including a 2-0 record in the NCAA tournament. The last time these two squads faced off was Aug. 30, 2019, where Florida was victorious in three sets.

Florida is looking to make its 18th trip to the regional championship and overall, the Gators are 17-19 in regional semifinal matches.

Two top-16 seeds were knocked out of the tournament. Kansas took down No. 14 Creighton on Frida and Illinois knocked out the reigning national champions and seven-seed Kentucky, which won it all last season.