OMAHA, Neb. - The eighth-seeded Florida volleyball team gets to keep dancing as the squad defeated the ninth-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes in four sets on Sunday evening in the Chi Health Center Convention Center.
The Gators advance to their 17th Regional Final in program history and will face No. 1 Wisconsin on Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU in the Chi Health Center Arena.
Florida won the first set 25-20 and then answered with a dramatic 26-24 comeback win in the second. Ohio State took a tight 25-23 battle in the third, but Florida responded with a dominating 25-16 win in the final frame to secure the match.
The block was difference maker for Florida, with the squad tallying 17.0 on the night, all while limiting the Buckeyes to a .139 clip. The 17.0 blocks tie the second-highest total in an NCAA Tournament game and is tied for the highest total in an NCAA Tournament game that went four sets or less.
Lauren Dooley led the way at the net, totaling 8.0 blocks on the night, while Lauren Forte added seven of her own. That mark puts them each respectively tied for fifth and tied for 10th for block assists in an NCAA Tournament game.
Marlie Monserez and Holly Carlton each added five blocks of the own on the night, followed by T'ara Ceasar and Thayer Hall each pitching in three.
The Gators were led on the offensive front by Ceasar, who posted a team-high 17 kills in the match. Thayer Hall added 11, while Monserez tallied a career-high eight - just two away from a triple-double.
Monserez paced Florida's offense, dishing out 35 assists in the four-setter, leading Florida to a .236 clip on the night.
The backcourt defense was led by Elli McKissock, who tallied 19 digs in the match. Monserez added 15 for her ninth double-double of the season, while Ceasar registered 11 for her 10th double-double of the year.
As a team, Florida recorded five service aces behind three from Monserez and two from Ceasar.
The Gators now face 1-seed Wisconsin on Monday at 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU in the Regional Final.
8-Seed Florida (21-3, 19-3 SEC)
9-Seed Ohio State (16-4, 15-3 Big Ten)
How It Happened
The two teams began the first set trading points back-and-forth, with neither team holding more than a three-point advantage. With the frame tied 11-11, the Gators went on a 9-3 spurt to take the 20-14 lead late in the first.
Ohio State pulled back to within three at 21-18, but Florida was able to hold the Buckeyes off, closing with a 4-2 run to take the 25-20 lead.
The Gators held Ohio State to a .098 clip in the first frame and were led offensively by Carlton, who posted three kills in the set. Four Gators each pitched in two kills of their own to secure the win for Florida.
The second set was tight early, but the Buckeyes found their stride with the match tied 11-all, putting together an 8-2 run to pull ahead 19-13. The Gators would not back down, pulling to within one at 20-19 before Ohio State went on a 4-1 run to make it 24-20 late.
That was no issue for Florida, who staved off four set points to tie it up at 24-24 on a Carlton kill. Dooley put the Gators ahead 25-24 with a kill of her own and Florida secured the set on an Ohio State error.
Ceasar led the way with six kills in the frame, while Hall and Forte each followed with three apiece. As a team, Florida recorded five blocks in the set.
The third set was a battle from the start, with neither team holding more than a two-point lead prior to the media timeout. Out of the break, Ohio State strung a 4-0 run together to take the 19-15 lead late in the frame.
Florida pulled back to within one at 24-23, but the Buckeyes were able to close out the frame 25-23 to force a fourth set.
The Gators hit .333 in the third frame and Ceasar once again led the way with six kills in the third frame, followed by four from Monserez.
The fourth set was all Gators from the start, with Florida never trailing.
UF hopped out to a 12-point lead at 18-6 - its largest lead of the match. Ohio State continued to battle, pulling to within six at 21-15, but the Gators closed out the set on a 4-1 run to move on to the Regional Final.
In the final frame, Florida held Ohio State to a .000 clip and notched 6.0 blocks, led by five from Forte. Hall posted a team-high four kills in the set, followed by three from Ceasar.
- Marlie Monserez recorded ninth double-double of the year, finishing with 35 assists and 15 digs Monserez also registered a career-high eight kills on the night.
- T'ara Ceasar notched her 10th double-double of the year, finishing with 17 kills and 11 digs.
- The 17.0 team blocks by Florida is the second-highest mark in an NCAA Tournament game and is the highest total in an NCAA Tournament game that has gone four sets or less.
- Lauren Dooley's 8.0 block assists put her tied for fifth in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
- Lauren Forte's 7.0 block assists per her tied for 10th in an NCAA Tournament game in program history.
- The Gators advance to the program's 17th Regional Final.
- Florida improves to 17-10 in the Regional Semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament.
- The Gators improve to 3-1 against Ohio State in the all-time series and 3-0 in the NCAA Tournament.
- UF moves to 77-30 (.720) in NCAA Tournament, including a 76-29 (.724) record under Mary Wise.
- As a 10-seed of better, Florida is now 51-16 (.761) in program history.
- UF's 77 NCAA Tournament wins are eighth all-time Mary Wise's 76 NCAA Tournament wins are sixth all-time in Division I history.
- The Gators are now 4-1 in four-set matches this season This is the first time Florida has played on a Sunday this season, moving to 1-0
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"Much of the win can be attributed to our serving and blocking. Against such a good offensive team like Ohio State, our defense was the difference. We're thrilled to still be playing and to be back in a Regional Final."
- The Gators advance to the program's 17th Regional Final, facing the 1-seed Wisconsin on Monday. First serve is slated for 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
- The Gators are 8-8 in Regional Final matches and hold a 5-0 record over the Badgers.
- Florida is 2-0 against Wisconsin in NCAA Tournament matches, with the last match coming in the 2015 Regional Semifinal in Austin, Texas