TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 23 Florida volleyball team topped the Alabama Crimson Tide in straight sets on Wednesday night in Foster Auditorium. UF has now won 59 consecutive sets against Alabama.
The Gators improve to 13-6 on the year and 7-2 in SEC play, while Alabama drops to 9-10 in the 2021 campaign and 1-6 in conference matches.
UF took the first set 25-17 and followed with a 25-19 victory in the second frame. Florida clinched the match with a 25-22 win in the third and final set.
The Gators had an incredibly balanced offensive attack against the Crimson Tide, with six players registering at least one kill. Florida was led by Thayer Hall on the offensive front, who posted 11 kills on the evening. Merritt Beason pitched in an eight-kill performance of her own, while T'ara Ceasar added six in the three-setter.
Bre Kelley posted a career-high five kills on the night on a .625 clip, while Lauren Forte (3) and Marlie Monserez (2) combined for five kills.
Monserez captained the offense, dishing out 29 assists and leading the team to a .295 hitting percentage.
As a team, the Gators held Alabama to a .106 clip and notched 10.0 blocks. Kelley was a dominant force at the net in her first start, grabbing a career-high and a team-high six blocks on the evening. Beason added four, while Ceasar and Forte each recorded three blocks apiece.
Florida's backcourt defense was led by Elli McKissock, who registered 13 digs in the match. Ceasar followed with 10 of her own, while Hall was just one dig away from a double-double, recording nine on the night.
The Gators are off until Oct. 30, when the team travels to Columbia, Mo. to take on the Missouri Tigers. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. ET on SEC Network +.
Records No. 23 Florida (13-6, 7-2 SEC) Alabama (9-10, 1-6 SEC)
How it Happened
- The Gators jumped out to the early 5-0 lead in the first set with Hall behind the service line, forcing an Alabama timeout. Out of break, the Crimson Tide battled back to tie it up at 8-8, but Florida exploded for an 11-2 run to take back the momentum at the 19-10 mark. Alabama pulled within six at 23-17, but it was the closest the squad would get as Florida closed out the set on a 2-0 run to take the first.
- The Gators hit .303 in the opening frame, while holding Alabama to a .036 clip. Ceasar posted five kills, followed by four from Beason and three from Kelley. Beason and Kelley also each recorded three blocks in the frame to lead the way for Florida at the net.
- Alabama took the 7-3 advantage to start the second set, forcing the Gators to utilize their first timeout. After the timeout, the Crimson Tide continued to hold a four-point advantage, until Florida strung together a 6-0 run behind the serves of Adams to take the 12-10 lead. The Gators continued to roll, going up four at the 15-11 mark to force an Alabama timeout. The Tide cut the deficit to three at 19-16, but Florida once again created distance, closing the set on a 6-3 run to go up 2-0 in the match.
- Florida hit .321 in the second frame, while once again keeping the Crimson Tide to below a .100 clip (.047). Hall posted a team-high six kills in the set, while Beason added two kills of her own.
- With the third set knotted at 4-all, the Gators went on a 5-0 run behind the serves of Ceasar to take the 9-4 advantage. The Gators were able to keep at least a three-point advantage until the Tide cut the deficit to just two at the 18-16 mark, forcing a Florida timeout. Out of the break, Alabama tied the set at 19-all, but the Gators strung together a 3-0 run to take the 22-19 lead. The Crimson Tide did not back down, pulling to within one at 23-22, but a service error and a Ceasar/Forte block secured the match victory for Florida.
- Hall posted a team-high three kills in the final frame, followed by two apiece from Beason and Monserez.
- Bre Kelley earned her first career start for Florida
- In her first start, Kelley recorded a career-high five kills and six blocks
- The Gators improve to 50-0 in the all-time series against the Crimson Tide, including a 48-0 record under Mary Wise
- UF has now won 59 consecutive sets against Alabama
- Florida is now 46-0 in three-set matches against Alabama
- The Gators are now 22-0 against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
- UF improves to 10-1 in three-set matches during the 2021 campaign
- The Gators improve to 5-1 in the month of October
- With her 29 assists today, Marlie Monserez inched closer to grabbing the No. 6 spot in program history for career assists (Lauren Moscovic - 3,306). She currently sits at 3,247
Thoughts from Coach Wise
"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."
The Gators are off until Oct. 30, when the team travels to Columbia, Mo. to take on the Missouri Tigers
First serve is slated for 6 p.m. ET on SEC Network +