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Hornet Invitational

Gators top Sacramento State in Hornet Invitational

21 days ago
Florida Athletics
Photo: florida athletics

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The sixth-ranked Florida volleyball team closed out the Hornet Invitational with a perfect 3-0 record after topping Sacramento State in straight-sets on Saturday night.

This is the 24th time in program history that the Gators have started the season off with a 3-0 record.

Florida controlled the first set from the jump, winning 25-14, then followed with a 25-17 victory in the second frame. UF was able to close out match and the tournament with 25-20 win in the third set.

The Gators' offensive attack was led by outside hitters T'ara Ceasar and Thayer Hall, who registered 12 and 10 kills, respectively. Lauren Forte posted seven kills of her own on just 11 swings with no errors for a .636 clip.

Merritt Beason and Marlie Monserez each recorded four kills in the match, while Lauren Dooley added three kills on a .750 clip.

Monserez captained the Florida offense to a .413 hitting efficiency on the night, dishing out 32 assists in the process.

For the second time in the tournament, the Gators held their opponent to below a .100 clip - holding the Hornets to just a .098 hitting efficiency on the night.

Elli McKissock paced the backcourt with 15 digs, while Beason and Monserez both posted eight in the match. That marks a season-best for the freshman Beason. Ceasar recorded seven digs of her own in the three-setter.

The Gators are back in action on Tuesday when the squad travels for a matchup against No. 21 Stanford. The match is slated for 8 p.m. ET and will air on the Pac-12 Networks.


No. 6 Florida (3-0)

Sacramento State (2-1)

How It Happened

  • The Gators controlled set one from the jump thanks in part to a 6-0 service run by Thayer Hall. Florida continued to keep the Hornets at bay, going up nine points at the 12-3 mark. Sacramento State pulled to within six at 16-7, but that was the closest the Hornets would get the rest of the way. Birdie Hendrickson led the Gators on a seven-point service run to put UF ahead 20-7 and the squad held on to claim the first set 25-14.
  • Florida hit a stellar .481 in the first set, while holding the Hornets to a .033 clip. Ceasar posted a set-high four kills, while Beason and Forte each added three apiece.
  • The start of the second set was a tight battle between the two teams, but with the score tied 5-5, the Gators were able to pull ahead to take a three-point advantage at 13-10. Sacramento State cut the deficit to one at 14-13, but Florida swung the momentum back in its direction, going ahead eight points at 23-15. The Gators closed out the set on a Monserez kill, going up 2-0 in the match.
  • The Gators held Sacramento State to a .029 clip in the second frame, while hitting .370 themselves. Forte, Ceasar and Monserez each recorded three kills to secure the win.
  • The third set was the closest of the three, with the two squads trading points until the Gators were able to grab the three-point lead at 12-9. Sacramento State dug its out of the hole to knot the set at 14-14, but Florida once again was able to create some distance at 19-17. The Hornets battled to tie the frame at 19-19, but the Gators soared on a 6-1 run to remain unbeaten in the 2021 campaign.
  • Florida hit .395 in the final frame, led by seven kills from Hall and five kills from Ceasar.


  • Merritt Beason posted a season-best eight digs on the night
  • Bre Kelley saw her first action as a Gator, recording two blocks and one kill in the match
  • Elli McKissock posted a season-high 15 digs in the match
  • Florida has now started the season off with a 3-0 record 24 times in program history
  • The Gators move to 1-0 against the Hornets in the all-time series
  • With her 32 assists, Marlie Monserez inched closer to breaking into UF's Top-10. She currently sits at 2,594 career assists, just 77 shy of claiming the No. 10 spot

Thoughts from Coach Wise

  • "This match reminds us of those grind-it-out matches that we have to play on the road where the home team is playing both inspired and well."

Up Next

  • The Gators close out their California road trip with a matchup against No. 21 Stanford
  • Florida is 5-7 in the all-time series against the Cardinal
  • The match will air on the Pac-12 Networks

No. 6 Florida at No. 21 Stanford Broadcast Information

Date & Time: Aug. 31 | 8 p.m. ET

Live Stream: Pac-12 Networks

Live Stats: Sidearm

Series Information - No. 6 Florida at No. 21 Stanford

Cardinal | 2021 season synopsis: 2-0

  • This is the 13th meeting between the Gators and the Cardinal
  • Florida trails 5-7 (5-7 under Mary Wise)
  • 3-set: 2-3 | 4-set: 1-2 | 5-set: 2-2
  • Home: 1-2 | Away: 1-1 | Neutral: 3-4
  • Last Time Out: Sept. 4, 2019 | Gainesville, Fla. | L, 0-3 (22-25, 17-25, 19-25)