GAINESVILLE, Fla.- The ninth-ranked Florida volleyball team closed out its series against the LSU Tigers on a high note, topping the Tigers in a four-set battle on Thursday night in Exactech Arena.
The Gators improve to 10-2 on the year, while LSU drops to 3-7 in the conference-only format.
UF won the first set 25-17, but LSU answered with a 25-22 victory in the second frame. Florida grabbed the third set with a score of 25-20 and clinched the match with a 25-19 fourth frame performance.
The outsides came up huge for Florida in the victory, with T'ara Ceasar and Thayer Hall combining for 39 kills. Ceasar posted a season-high 20 kills on the evening with a .425 clip - also a season-best mark. Hall registered 19 kills on the night, just one off her season-high performance.
Mia Sokolowski posted nine kills on 15 swings for a .467 clip, while Lauren Forte added eight kills of her own with a .700 attack percentage.
Holly Carlton stepped up in the setting role for the Gators, leading the squad to a .300 clip in the match. Carlton posted a career-high 55 assists, while also adding seven digs, four kills, three blocks and three service aces.
The Gators held LSU to a .169 clip on the evening, while Lauren Dooley and Carlton each posted a team-high three blocks.
Elli McKissock was once again all over the backcourt on Thursday night, registering 22 digs. Ceasar notched a season-best 15 digs on the evening, securing her third double-double of year.
Paula Cerame recorded nine digs of her own, while Hall posted eight in the match.
As a team, Florida recorded seven service aces, led by Carlton's three. McKissock and Ceasar each recorded two in the four-setter.
The Gators are back in action with a two-match series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs beginning on Feb. 19 in Starkville, Miss. Both matches are slated for a 6 p.m. first serve.
No. 9 Florida (10-2, 10-2 SEC)
LSU (3-7, 3-7 SEC)
How It Happened
- Florida and LSU kept it tight through the first portion of the opening frame, with Florida holding the slight lead at 7-6. UF went on an 8-3 run behind the serves of Riley Fischer and Paula Cerame to go into the media timeout up 15-9. Out of the break, Florida gained a seven-point lead, but LSU answered with a 5-0 run to cut UFs lead to 18-16. The Gators continued to hold the Tigers at a distance, going up 22-17 late to force LSU to use its final timeout. Out of the timeout, three-straight kills ended the frame and put Florida up 1-0 in the match.
- The Gators hit a stellar .485 in the first frame, led by seven kills from Ceasar and five from Hall. Carlton posted 16 assists in the frame, while as a team, Florida recorded 18 digs.
- LSU hopped out to the early 6-3 lead in the second frame, but the Gators answered with an 8-1 run thanks in part to a string of kills from outsides Hall and Ceasar. The Tigers answered with a run of their own, going on a 5-0 spurt to go up 12-11, forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators pulled ahead at 13-12, but the Tigers tied the frame and 13-all and would not trail again, taking the set 25-22.
- Florida was led by nine kills from Hall in the second frame, while Ceasar added four. Ceasar also notched seven digs in the frame, pushing her into double-double territory.
- The two squads traded points for a majority of the third frame, but with the set tied 17-17, the Gators went on a 4-0 run to pull ahead of the Tigers. From that point on, Florida kept at least a three-point lead over LSU, claiming the 25-20 victory after back-to-back kills from Ceasar.
- Florida held LSU to a .024 clip in the third frame, while Ceasar (5) and Hall (4) combined for nine kills to secure the frame.
- Behind the serves of Holly Carlton, the Gators hopped out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth set. Florida continued to hold the advantage, going up six points at the 10-4 mark to force LSU to use its first timeout. The Tigers pulled to within two at 11-9, but the Gators grew their lead back to five at the 19-14 mark.
- LSU attempted to slash Florida's lead, but would not get closer than three points as the Gators went on to win the set 25-19 and secure their 10th victory of the season.
- Florida posted a .345 clip in the final frame, led by four kills from Ceasar. Sokolowski and Hall each pitched in three kills in the set as well, while Carlton posted 13 assists. Notables Holly Carlton posted a new career-high in assists with 55, besting her previous high of 51 (at North Carolina)
- T'ara Ceasar recorded her third double-double of the year, recording 19 kills and 15 digs
- The 19 kills were a season-best for the redshirt junior, besting her previous season-high by one
- Elli McKissock 22 digs on the evening, her second-straight performance of 20+ digs
- The Gators improve to 48-13 against the Tigers in the all-time series, including a 45-5 record under Mary Wise
- Florida moves to 15-6 against LSU in four-set matches
- UF is now 25-4 against the Tigers in Gainesville, Fla.
- The Gators improve to 2-1 in four-set matches during the 2020-21 campaign
- Florida is now 532-69 at home since the inception of the program in 1984
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"We've talked about how one of our strengths was going to be our depth. The way Holly Carlton stepped up running the 5-1, alongside the play of all three pin hitters - T'ara, Thayer and Mia - was the difference maker today."