GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The 22nd-ranked Florida volleyball team (10-5, 4-1 SEC) closed out the series against the Ole Miss Rebels (12-3, 1-3 SEC) with a dominant three-set victory on Sunday afternoon in Exactech Arena.
The Gators took the first set 25-17 and followed with a commanding 25-13 victory in the second. Florida secured the final frame with a 9-0 run over the final stretch to win 25-17.
Merritt Beason and T'ara Ceasar each registered a nine-kill performance, leading Florida's offensive attack. Thayer Hall added eight kills, while middle blockers Lauren Forte (5) and Lauren Dooley (4) combined for nine kills.
Marlie Monserez led the Gators to a .349 clip on the afternoon, recording 32 assists in the three-setter.
The Gators were a force at the net, recording 13.0 blocks while holding the Rebels to a .040 clip. Beason and Dooley led the way, recording six blocks apiece - that mark tied Beason's career-high mark. Forte and Hall each registered four blocks on the afternoon, while Ceasar round it out with three.
Florida's backcourt defensive effort was led by 12 digs from Ceasar. Elli McKissock followed with nine digs in the libero jersey, while Hall, Beason and Monserez added six, five and four, respectively.
Trinity Adams led the way behind the service line, recording two aces in the match. Beason, Ceasar and Hall each added one apiece.
The Gators are back in action next weekend, when the team travels to LSU to take on the Tigers in a two-match series beginning on Oct. 9.
No. 22 Florida (10-5, 4-1 SEC)
Ole Miss (12-3, 1-3 SEC)
How it Happened
Ole Miss took the 1-0 lead in the first set, but it was the last lead the Rebels saw, as Florida pushed ahead and didn't look back. The set was within two at 9-7, but the Gators strung together a 6-2 run to take the 15-9 lead into the media timeout. Florida took as large as an eight-point lead at the 19-11 mark, but Ole Miss cut its deficit to four after a 3-0 run. The Gators closed out the frame with a 6-3 run to go up 1-0 in the match.
- UF hit .500 in the first set, while holding Ole Miss to a .152 clip. Beason led the way with four kills, while Ceasar and Hall each added three apiece. Florida notched five blocks in the first set as well, led by Dooley's four and Hall's three.
With the Gators down 3-2 in the second set, Florida sprung out to a 6-0 run behind the serves of McKissock to force an Ole Miss timeout. Out of the break, UF continued to build its lead, gaining the 10-point advantage at the 20-10 mark. The Gators cruised to the 25-13 victory thanks in part to three Ceasar kills and a Beason slam over the final five points.
- Florida hit .314 in the set, led by four kills from Hall and three from Ceasar. Beason, Forte and Monserez each pitched in two kills of their own. The Gators once again recorded five blocks in the set, led by three from Forte.
The third set was back-and-forth from the start, with neither team holding more than a three-point lead. Florida took the 15-14 lead into the media timeout, but out of the break Ole Miss took the 17-16 advantage. Down one, the Gators went on a 3-0 run to take the 19-17 lead and force the Rebels to use their first timeout of the third. Florida continued to roll out of the break, closing out the match on a 6-0 run thanks to the play of Hall behind the service line to move to 4-1 in the SEC.
- Beason and Ceasar led the way in the final frame with three kills apiece, followed by two from Dooley to secure the win.
- Merritt Beason tied her career-high in blocks with six in the match
- The last time Florida held an opponent to below a .100 clip was Aug. 28 against Sacramento State (.098)
- The Gators improve to 56-3 in the all-time series against the Rebels, including a 50-0 record under Mary Wise
- Florida is now 47-0 against Ole Miss in three-set matches
- UF remains undefeated against the Rebels in Gainesville, Fla., moving to 26-0
- The Gators are now 8-1 in three-set matches during the 2021 campaign
- Florida improves to 543-73 (.881) at home since the inception of the program in 1984
- Lauren Dooley now sits 21st in program history in career blocks with 296, surpassing both Lenee Hill (293) and Jenny Manz (296)
- She is just 19 blocks away from breaking into the top-20
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"Six-straight sets with us playing as good defensively as we have played all season, doing so against a very talented offense. "
- The Gators hit the road to take on the LSU Tigers for a two-match series beginning on Oct. 9
- Saturday's match is slated for 5 p.m. on SEC Network +
- Sundays match will air on the SEC Network at 1 p.m.