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Friday, February 03, 2023

No. 23 Florida captures 50th win in program history over Alabama

The Gators add another sweep to their record against the Crimson Tide Wednesday

<p>Florida&#x27;s Merritt Beason lays down a kill during a game against Texas A&amp;M on Oct. 16, 2021. Beason laid down a career-high 18 kills against South Carolina, leading the Gators to their first road SEC win of the season. </p>

Florida's Merritt Beason lays down a kill during a game against Texas A&M on Oct. 16, 2021. Beason laid down a career-high 18 kills against South Carolina, leading the Gators to their first road SEC win of the season.

Outside hitter Merritt Beason lined up the ball for the match point serve. The ball glided over the net into Alabama’s hands where the team set up a kill for rightside hitter Kennedy Muckelroy. 

Instead, the Crimson Tide was met by Florida middle blocker Lauren Forte and outside hitter T’ara Ceasar, the two blocking the ball as well as Alabama’s hopes.  

No. 23 Florida volleyball swept Alabama 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-22) Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The Crimson Tide suffered 24 attack errors in the match compared to Florida’s mere nine. 

The Gators took the early lead in the opening set with a five-point run after two Alabama attack errors and three kills, one each from Beason, outside hitter Thayer Hall and middle blocker Bre Kelley. The Crimson Tide called their first timeout after the Gators streak, and ‘Bama tied the match at eight apiece after a block by outside hitter Kendyl Reaugh and middle blocker Laila Smith. 

That’s as close as Alabama got to beating the Gators. UF went on a 6-0 run before a kill by Alabama middle blocker Chaise Campbell stopped Florida’s fire from spreading further. It wasn’t enough, however, and a Ceasar ace scorched the Crimson Tide, 25-17.  

The roles reversed in the second set. Alabama claimed the lead for the first time in the match with a block from Campbell and setter Brooke Slusser at 3-2. The Crimson Tide furthered their offensive roll with a 4-1 run, and Florida head coach Mary Wise called her first timeout. 

Florida piled on to its first set fury. The Gators went on a 9-1 run and profited off of six Alabama attack errors, Hall and Kelley kills and an ace by setter Marlie Monserez to reclaim the lead 15-11. Back and forth scoring occurred before a Hall kill cut Alabama’s initial set momentum 25-19, a Gators sweep entered into sight. 

Alabama errors gave Florida easy points early in the third. Three attack errors and one service error allowed the Gators to edge out the Crimson Tide at 5-4. Three Gators kills later, and Alabama once again was forced to call an early-set timeout. 

The Gators kept the Crimson Tide an arms reach away until a Campbell kill tied the match at 19 apiece. Hall dumped a kill to keep Florida’s set advantage alive, and two more Alabama attack errors pushed the Gators lead to 22-19. The Crimson Tide’s attacking kryptonite ended any shot of the match going to four as an attack error sealed the match 25-22.

Florida has a 10-day gap before its next match against Missouri Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. 

Contact Kaitlyn Wadulack at kwadulack@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter at @kwadulack.

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