The 14th ranked Florida volleyball completed its weekend sweep of Coastal Carolina (6-4) with a 3-0 victory (25-15, 25-19, 25-21) in front of 2,123 on Sunday. Marlie Monserez dished out 36 assists to move to eighth on Florida’s all-time assist list. The Gators finishes its non-conference schedule with a 6-4 record.
Going into Sunday’s Match
After a three-game losing streak which consisted of two losses to Baylor and a road loss to FSU, Florida bounced back. The Gators previously defeated the Chanticleers on Saturday (25-22, 25-19, 25-15). Both weekend games lasted 90 minutes.
Smiles were abound on Sunday, not due to a change in mindset, Gator head coach Mary Wise said, but because the Gators executed. Florida hit .370 while holding Coastal Carolina to .196.
“Behind the back row play of Trinity Adams, combined with the arms of T’ara Ceasar and Sofia Victoria, we were able to put together enough good plays to beat a very veteran, experienced Coastal team,” Wise said.
Setter Monserez was aggressive at the net, earning six kills. She attributed her attacks to her passers having good ball control.
“Those are always really fun,” Monserez said, adding, “getting the ball to the net is the only reason I can do that.”
Middle Lauren Forte sat out her second straight match with a boot on her foot. Due to her sprained ankle, Wise said, Forte is out for the foreseeable future.
The match started with some tit-for-tat scoring, tied 4-4.
Defensive specialist Adams went on a seven-point service run to shift the Gators into a comfortable lead at 11-4. The rest of the set was smooth sailing for Florida. Monserez was lethal at the net, earning the most kills of any player in the first set.
Outside hitter Victoria started her third straight match for Florida and ended with 14 kills.
Thayer Hall played opposite of Monserez, meaning Hall and Ceasar played next to each other in the rotation. When the duo shared time in the back row, Ceasar played back right and Hall middle back.
Right side Merrit Beason subbed in for Hall to finish the set and terminated it 25-15 with the kill.
The Chanticleers, nicknamed for a proud and fierce rooster, by the way, took a timeout at 9-2 after another service run from Adams. The next time, Victoria’s service run prompted a Coastal Carolina timeout at 15-5.
Even on an overpass, the struggling Chanticleers managed no more than a tip.
Beason subbed in for Hall again, and the Gators shifted Victoria into the service receive formation. After she got aced, Beason took on serve receive duties along with Ceasar and libero Elli McKissock. Wise took a timeout at 18-12.
After that, middle Gabby Essix turned fans’ heads with a jarring kill. Essix, a freshman, played her second full match for Florida.
Likewise, sophomore outside Victoria, developing into a regular in the rotation, made a great save on a tip heading toward the left sideline. She later slammed the ball from the outside at 23-16 to end a long rally.
Coastal Carolina fought off two set points from Florida. They say it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. But when you start with a 10 point lead, you’re allowed a little leeway. Ceasar got the kill to win the second set, 25-19.
Victoria garnered three kills to advance the Gators 8-5. The 6’3″ Essix showed her blocking prowess in a block with Hall. Florida stuck to its new rotation of Hall getting reps on the right side and Victoria and Ceasar playing outside.
Sophmore Nnedi Okammor, who split time with Lauren Dooley, played middle in the third set.
Florida got off to an 11-7 start and maintained the lead to 20-11.
— Gators Volleyball (@GatorsVB) September 19, 2021
The Chanticleers proved proud and fierce when they came crowing back to 23-19. Ani Bozdeva’s play was crucial for the Coastal Carolina squad. She had 14 kills and hit .483. Wise called a timeout, and the Chanticleers missed the next serve long.
Ceasar won the match for Florida with a kill at 25-21. Monserez distributed the sets evenly, with the outsides receiving 53 sets and the rest of the players 47.
Stars of the Stats
Ceasar- 3 aces, 13 kills, .423
Victoria- 14 kills, .370
Adams- 4 aces
With their non-conference schedule in the rearview mirror, Wise and the Florida squad now look ahead to the SEC season.
“Everyone is 0-0 now,” Wise said.
Florida will play Mississippi State (9-3) at home on Thursday and Friday, both at 7 p.m. The matches will air live on SEC Network +.