No. 23 Florida earned its second consecutive sweep on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory (25-17, 25-19, 25-22) over Alabama. With the win in Tuscaloosa, AL, the Gators also move to 4-3 on the road. The Gators previously swept Texas A&M on Saturday.
Head coach Mary Wise, who is eight games away from 1,000 career wins with nine regular-season games remaining, spoke about the Gators’ play.
“We saw some really great performances tonight, especially out of our younger players. It was a great learning experience on the road, playing a team coming off a week-long break.”
Freshman Bre Kelley’s first career start perhaps served as the highlight of the night. She hit 5-for-8 and rejected all sorts of attacks to lead the team with six blocks. The 6 foot 4 inches middle started in place of senior Lauren Dooley.
Florida (13-6, 7-2 SEC) now has one match left in October, a month much less spooky for them than September; they are 5-1 so far versus 5-4.
Thayer Hall started the evening out hot with a sizzling service run to put the Gators ahead 5-0. Though Alabama evened up the score 8-8, Hall soon went to work again at the service line and cushioned the Gator lead. She overpowered a Crimson Tide timeout to earn a five-point service run.
T’ara Ceaser led the team in kills in set 1. Though, errors led the outside to hit an extremely rare -.037. Still, Ceaser closed the first set out 25-17 with an ace.
Florida managed a balanced attack on the night. Ceaser, Hall, Kelley and freshman rightside Merritt Beason all had five or more kills.
In the second set, Alabama jumped off to a 7-3 lead. The substitution of outside Abby Marjama helped the Tide roll, along with mainstay right side Kennedy Muckelroy.
Trinity Adams took her turn to go on a service run with a 5-point run to inch the Gators a point behind at 12-11.
The Gators had 10 blocks and 44 digs in the game. Elli McKissock led the backcourt with 14, while Ceasar and Hall weren’t far behind with 10 and 9 digs, respectively. Hall closed out the second set with a kill.
Florida got ahead 9-4 via a four-point service run from Ceasar. Alabama was able to edge the score closer and closer as the set went on, staring down the Gators a point away at 23-22.
S O L O ❌
— Gators Volleyball (@GatorsVB) October 21, 2021
However, service and attack errors in the last two points spoiled the upset hopes for the Crimson Tide.
Under the leadership of setter Marlie Monserez, the Gators hit .291 on the night while holding their opponent to a mere .106. Senior Monserez, who was named the SEC Setter of the Week, dished out 29 assists. With 3,247 career assists, she now stands 60 away from being No. 6 in program history.
The victorious Gators now have their lengthiest break of the season. After ten days off, the team resumes play against the Missouri Tigers (4-16, 1-6 SEC) on October 30 at 6 p.m. The game will broadcast live at 6 p.m. on SEC Network+.