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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Gators sweep Coastal Carolina for the second time this weekend

Southeastern Conference play awaits Florida following back-to back home wins over the Chanticleers

Florida's Marlie Monserez offers up a set during a game in 2019.
Florida's Marlie Monserez offers up a set during a game in 2019.

Setter Marlie Monserez dished out dimes left and right on Sunday afternoon, 36 of them to be exact, in a performance Florida fans have come to expect from the senior. However, it was her three kills during the opening set that had the Windermere, Florida, native smiling ear to ear. 

The Gators secured their second straight sweep over Coastal Carolina on Sunday with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-21) win in the O’Connell Center. The victory follows a trio of losses to the likes of Baylor and Florida State. 

Momentum from the afternoon prior carried over to the first set. The Gators quickly jumped out to a 10-4 lead behind the play of Monserez. Coastal Carolina continued to leave the floor close to the net wide open, and Monserez took advantage with sneaky slams. 

“Those are always really fun,” Monserez said. “[Those plays] are solely attributed to the ball control of the team. Getting the ball to the net is the only reason I can do that.” 

A 12-5 Florida lead forced the hand of Chanticleer's head coach Jozsef Forman, calling his team’s second timeout. The Gators continued the onslaught, boasting a .545 hitting percentage compared to Coastal Carolina's measly .125. Florida took the opening set, 25-15.  

Outside hitter Sofia Victoria wasted no time getting into a grove at the start of the second set. She spiked home two consecutive kills to get the Gators on the board. Florida seemed to be cruising in similar fashion to the first set, but a four-point run from the Chanticleers drew them within six of the Gators’ lead, 18-12. Coastal Carolina survived two set points before a kill from T’ara Ceasar, her eighth of the match, gave Florida the set, 25-19, to move them to the brink of another sweep. 

Set three started tighter than the two preceding it. The Chanticleers claimed an early 3-1 lead behind three consecutive kills from outside hitter Ani Bozdeva. The Gators took control from then on, their second sweep in as many days well within reach. 

Two separate four-point runs defined the set. The first took place with Florida still trailing 6-4. A Coastal Carolina service error was followed by back-to-back aces from defensive specialist Trinity Adams before a Chanticleers’ net violation. Momentum swung right back in the Gators’ favor. Later in the set, kills from Gabbi Essix and Monserez, an Adams ace and a Coastal Carolina attack error handed Florida four more points in a row, building the lead to nine. 

Ceasar slapped the final stamp on the match. Her match-point kill, assisted by Monserez, was her 13th of the game, one shy of Victoria (14), who led the team in kills for the third straight match. 

The Gators concluded the three-setter with 48 kills, 11 attack errors and a .370 hitting percentage. 

Lauren Forte was in the building Sunday, but didn’t see the court. The middle blocker started the first eight matches for Florida this season, but was seen on the bench in a walking boot. Mary Wise confirmed Forte has an ankle sprain and will be out for the “foreseeable future.” 

The Gators will be right back inside the O’Dome next week when they open conference play next week. Mississippi State will be in town for a two match series on Thursday, Sept. 23 and Friday Sept. 24. 

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Contact Joseph Henry at jhenry@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @Josephhenry2424.

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