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Friday, September 22, 2023

No. 22 Gators host Ole Miss for weekend series

Florida swept Georgia on Wednesday, building momentum into two matches with the Rebels

<p>Florida volleyball&#x27;s Elli McKissock (23), Sofia Victoria (4), Marlie Monserez (21) and Merritt Beason (13) celebrate during the Gators&#x27; loss to Mississippi State on Sept. 24. The team hosted Jacksonville Saturday for its annual Fan Day exhibition match. </p>

Florida volleyball's Elli McKissock (23), Sofia Victoria (4), Marlie Monserez (21) and Merritt Beason (13) celebrate during the Gators' loss to Mississippi State on Sept. 24. The team hosted Jacksonville Saturday for its annual Fan Day exhibition match.

Outside hitter T’ara Ceasar led the way with 13 kills as the Gators broke out the brooms Wednesday in Athens, Georgia. Now, Florida (8-5, 2-1) hosts its second consecutive home series against a Magnolia State opponent. 

The Gators take the court inside the Stephen C. O’Connell Center opposite Ole Miss Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. 

The Rebels (12-1, 1-1) come to Gainesville after suffering their first loss of the season at the hands of No. 6 Kentucky. Ole Miss overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the match to five sets, but the Wildcats killed all hopes of an upset when they won the decisive set, 15-9. 

Florida could be on upset watch too, however, considering the Rebels hot start to the season and the way they pushed the highest-ranked team in the SEC to the edge. 

An Ole Miss win over the Gators this weekend would be a rare occurrence. Florida holds an impressive 54-3 all-time record over the Rebels. Additionally, the Gators have never dropped a game to Ole Miss (48-0) since head coach Mary Wise took the helm in 1991. The Rebels look to take a page from their in-state rival Mississippi State’s book. The Bulldogs knocked off Florida for the first time in program history on Sept. 24. 

Middle blocker Lauren Forte will continue her comeback after an ankle sprain in early September required a boot and held her out of four games. During the redshirt senior’s first game back Wednesday, she tallied eight kills and a .375 hitting percentage. 

First serve is set for 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Both matches are available to be streamed on SEC Network +. 

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

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Joseph Henry

Joseph Henry is a fourth-year sports journalism major and is the Alligator's sports editor. He previously worked as senior news director, assistant sports editor, men's basketball beat reporter, volleyball beat reporter and golf beat reporter. He enjoys sitting down to watch a movie as often as possible, collecting vinyl and drinking Dr. Pepper. 


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