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Saturday, March 25, 2023

No. 23 Florida extends sweep streak to three against Missouri

The Gators earned their third consecutive sweep after defeating the Tigers Saturday

Florida's Marlie Monserez (left) and Thayer Hall (right), pictured during a game against Texas A&M on Oct. 16.
Florida's Marlie Monserez (left) and Thayer Hall (right), pictured during a game against Texas A&M on Oct. 16.

Missouri setter Addison Lyon lined up the ball before she lept and struck it mid-air to serve match point now underway. 

That would be the last time a Tiger would touch the ball, as Florida ended the match on its first possession. 

Florida setter Marlie Monserez set the ball up and outside hitter Thayer Hall came crashing down to slam home the Gators third straight sweep with a kill. The No. 23 Florida Gators claimed the win over the Mizzou Tigers 3-0 (25-10, 25-23, 25-22) in Columbia, Missouri, Saturday. 

The Gators dominated the Tigers offensively throughout the match. Florida tallied 48 kills with a .354 hitting percentage compared to Mizzou’s 30 and .135, respectively. Hall and outside hitter T’ara Ceasar led the Gators in kills with 13 apiece. 

An opening set kill from Ceasar got the ball rolling for the Gators early. Mizzou snuck in a kill before Florida smoked the Tigers with a 7-0 run to force Tigers’ head coach Joshua Taylor to call his first timeout at 8-1. 

Back-and-forth scoring followed until Florida pounced once again, this time to slam down nine consecutive points and extend the lead to 22-7. Mizzou had no further cards to play, and a kill from middle blocker Lauren Forte sealed the first set in the Gators favor, 25-10. 

The Tigers put up more of a fight in the second set. The two teams traded points until Mizzou got ahead of Florida at 11-9 after two Gators attack errors and a kill by Tiger outside hitter Anna Dixon. It didn’t last, and Florida tied the match back to 12 apiece after a Monserez kill. 

Neither team showed any second-set dominance as the score kept tying up. Mizzou stretched out a late second-set lead at 23-20 after a kill by middle blocker Trista Strasser, a Dixon ace and a Gators attack error. 

Florida head coach Mary Wise called a timeout in hopes of reigniting the Gators’ first set fury, and it worked. 

The Gators knocked out the Tigers with five straight points featuring two Ceasar kills to end the second set 25-23 and put a Florida sweep within reach. 

Mizzou came into the third set on an initial hot streak. Five kills helped the Tigers jump to a 7-2 lead, which motivated Florida to call an early timeout. However, the Tigers struggled to maintain the advantage, and the Gators went on an 8-2 run to re-establish their opening set fire, now 10-9. 

It was a fight to the finish as the Tigers and the Gators seesawed the lead with one other. Florida reclaimed set advantage after an ace by defensive specialist Trinity Adams at 21-20. A last-minute Mizzou timeout couldn’t halt the Tigers’ fate, and a Hall kill gave Florida the sweep, 25-22. 

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The Gators look to keep their sweep streak going Thursday as they head back to Gainesville for a home match against Tennessee at 7 p.m.

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

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