FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The 22nd Florida volleyball team won a tightly fought five-set action over the Arkansas Razorbacks to close the series at Barnhill Arena on Saturday night.
Florida extends its win streak to six games, improving 17-6 on the year and 11-2 in SEC play. Arkansas drops to 17-8 in the 2021 campaign and 8-6 in the league.
Arkansas picked up the first set 25-16, but UF responded with a 25-17 victory in the second set to tie the game at 1-1. The Razorbacks took the third frame 25-18, but again the Gators responded with a 25-22 win to force a decisive fifth set. Florida took the fifth set in extras, winning 16-14 to win the crucial league match.
T’ara Ceasar led Florida with an attempted 23 finishs, while Thayer Hall finished 14 of her own in the five-setter. Merritt Beason added 10 finishs in the win, followed by a career-high nine from Bre Kelley.
Marlie Monserez gave 55 assists on the night to go along with five blocks.
The Gators counted 12.0 blocks on the net, keeping the Razorbacks at one .191 hitting percentage in the match. Kelley recorded a team-high and career-high seven blocks, while Beason and Lauren Forte each counted three blocks apiece in the win.
Florida’s backcourt defense was led by a 21-dig appearance by Caesar. Beason added a career-high 17 digs in the five sets, while Monserez recorded 14. Hall’s 12 excavations and Elli McKissock’s 10 excavations rounded out the performances in double digits.
The Gators return to Exactech Arena Wednesday for a midweek game against Auburn. First serve is scheduled at 7pm on SEC Network+.
22 Florida (17-6, 11-2 SEC) Arkansas (17-8, 8-6 SEC)
How it happened
With the first set tied 4-4, Arkansas advanced to the 4-point lead at 10-6. The Gators fought their way out of the hole, reducing the deficit to just two at 12-10 before the Razorbacks went on a 3-0 run to take the 15-10 lead in the media timeout. From the break, Arkansas finished the set on a 10-6 run, taking the first set 25-16.
Kelley led the way with four pass aways in the first set, followed by three each from Caesar and Hall.
Florida bounced back in the second frame, jumping to the early 11-4 lead to force an Arkansas timeout. The Gators pulled a whopping 10 through the middle of the set, but the Razorbacks reduced the deficit back to four at the 19-15 mark. Florida responded, closing the set on a 6-2 run to tie the game at 1-apiece.
The alligators hit .312 in the second set, while the Razorbacks are on a .102 clips. Caesar and Hall each recorded four executes in the frame to show the way.
The third set began as a back-and-forth action, but with the frame tied 4-all, Arkansas pushed forward on a 6-2 run to force a Florida timeout. The alligators pulled in three at 11-8, but the Razorbacks swung the momentum in their direction, taking the eight-point advantage at the 18-10 mark. Arkansas remained in the lead, but Florida held back four setpoints to draw in six at 24-18. The Razorbacks picked up the set with a screaming finish to take the 2-1 advantage in the game.
Caesar recorded a set-high five finishs for the Gators, while Beason added six digs to the set.
Arkansas took a four-point lead early in the fourth set, but the Gators responded with a 6-2 run to tie the frame at 12-all. The teams began exchanging points, with Florida taking the 15-14 lead in the media timeout. Out of the break, the Gators continued to push and took the six-point lead to 20-14. Arkansas fought back with a 6-1 run to force a Florida timeout at the 21-20 mark. From that break, the Razorbacks pulled ahead 22-21, but back-to-back Caesar finishs gave UF the 23-22 advantage. Florida finished the set after a 2-0 run to force a decisive fifth frame.
The alligators hit .281 in the fourth set, while Arkansas went to a .118 clips. Caesar placed a team-high six pass aways in the set.
The Gators took their momentum from the fourth set win and climbed ahead 5-2 early in the fifth. Arkansas continued to action, pulling in one at 7-6, but Florida took the 8-6 lead in the media timeout. From the break, Caesar included back-to-back finishs to give the Gators 10-7, but the Razorbacks again reduced the deficit to 1 in 10-9. Arkansas took the 13-12 lead late, but Florida responded with a 4-2 run to secure the win and extend the win streak to six games.
Florida finished the game with a .303 clip in the final set, led by five finishs from Caesar and three each from Beason and Hall.
T’ara Ceasar recorded her 10th double-double of the season, finishing with 23 finishs and 21 digs
Caesar’s 21 digs were a career-high for the redshirt senior, surpassing her previous career-high of 20 (LSU-10/10/21)
Thayer Hall notched her fifth double-double of the year, finishing with 14 finishs and 12 digs
Marlie Monserez recorded her ninth double-double of the year, posting 55 assists and 14 digs
Merritt Beason recorded the first double-double of her career, with 10 finishs and 17 digs
Her 17 excavations were a career-high
Bre Kelley recorded nine finishs in the match, setting a new career high. Her 12.5 points on the night were also a career-best mark
Kelley also counted a career-high seven blocks in the five-setter
The last time the Gators had five players in double-digit digs was Sept. 24, 2021 V Mississippi State
The alligators improve to 48-3 in the all-time series against the Razorbacks
UF is now 6-2 against Arkansas in five-set games
Florida Goes to 20-2 against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Ark.
Improving the Gators to 2-1 in five-set games during the 2021 campaign
UF us now 3-0 in the month of November
Mary Wise now sits on 996 career wins, just four away from clinching her 1,000 th
With her 55 assists today, Marlie Monserez is now only 13 assists away from securing the No. 5 spot in the history of the career assists program
With her 14 executes tonight, Thayer Hall moved to 13th place in program history with 1221 executes. She surpassed Kiysa finishing worth (1,215), Carli Snyder (1,207) and Neymar Rodriguez (1,207) in the match
Thoughts from Coach Wise
“What an epic dry action. Arkansas played very well and I couldn’t be prouder of this group and how they fought tonight.”
- The Gators return to Exactech Arena Wednesday for a midweek matchup against Auburn
- First serve is scheduled at 19: 00 on SEC Network +
- Florida holds the 51-2 series lead over the Tigers
- No. 22 Georgia vs. Georgia Auburn broadcast information
Date And Time: Nov. 17/19 hours
Live Stream: SEC Network +
Live Statistics: Statbroadcast
Series information-No. 22 Florida vs. Auburn
Tigers / 2021 season synopsis: 13-11, 5-9 SEC