The SEC volleyball season has reached its halfway point this past week. The Florida Gators came out of their bye-week on Wednesday night to face the South Carolina Gamecocks for a two-match series in Columbia. The first match included a sweep over the Gamecocks but the Gamecocks beat the Gators the next day to hand Florida its first loss of the season.
As Florida volleyball enters the second half of its season this week, six players have emerged as offensive leaders with major contributions to Florida’s season.
No. 5 Haley Warner
Junior right-side hitter Haley Warner is slowly moving into a leader status this season. This season, she has racked up 10 kills and 2.50 kills per set average through the first four games. Teammate Holly Carlton explained that Warner has shown incredible strength so far in her career.
“Haley is an incredible physical hitter. I don’t know if anybody hits the ball harder than her. She definitely has a huge fear factor towards the defenders,” said Carlton.
No. 4 Holly Carlton
Holly Carlton is a setter and right side hitter who has amassed 20 kills this season in the first four matches. In addition, she averages 2.00 kills per set and a .364 hitting percentage as a redshirt senior. Carlton’s success can be attributed to the trust in her setter and the great relationship they have developed. Setter Marlie Monserez explained, “Her work ethic, whether she’s hitting, setting, serving, is that she wants to be the best version of herself. She is always willing to do what anyone asks of her.”
No. 3 Thayer Hall
In the third spot, junior Thayer Hall has taken a top role as an outside hitter. Hall has contributed 43 kills for her team this season at 3.58 kills per set through the first four matches. This season, Hall has shown that she is in rhythm with her setters. Hall entered this season with a lengthy list of awards on her belt from the 2019 season. In 2019, she was a two-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week, Cardinal Classic MVP, Gators Invitational MVP and VolleyballMag.com Second Team All-America.
No. 2 T’ara Ceasar
Although T’ara Ceasar sits on number two offensively, she has secured the first spot for hitters on the team. This season, Ceasar has an incredible 51 kills at 4.25 kills per set through the first four matches. Her attack percentage sits at .333%. In the SEC overall, Ceasar sits at sixth place in the kills category. According to Ceasar, her teammates have been a huge reason for her success this season.
“My teammates have been so helpful in making me feel so comfortable and not nervous. I know the very first game we played in Auburn I was nervous but they really helped me get out of that,” said Ceasar.
No 1. Marlie Monserez
In the number one spot overall is offensive leader and setter, Marlie Monserez. Monserez takes the number one spot due to her contribution to the success of each of her offensive players. As a junior, Monserez has amassed 128 assists and even has grabbed nine kills of her own. In the SEC overall, Monserez sits in the number three spot in the assists category so far in the season through the first four matches.
“To see her growth in running our offense, it’s been amazing to watch. She has taken full ownership of that role of being a core in this offense and she does it so well. She does it will beauty and grace,” said Thayer Hall.
Overall, Monserez’s hitters look towards her to guide the team offensively. Ceasar also added that “Marlie is thriving in that role. I’m so proud of her and happy I get to play with her.”