GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The 16th-seeded Florida volleyball team fell to the top-seeded Louisville Cardinals (31-0) in three sets on Thursday afternoon in Freedom Hall.
The Gators finish the 2021 campaign with a 22-9 overall record and a 14-4 record in SEC play – good for third in the league. Florida made its 31st-straight NCAA appearance this season, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
UF also extended its streak to 31-straight seasons of winning at least 20 matches, the longest active streak in the nation by nine seasons.
Louisville took the first set 25-16 and followed with a 25-20 victory in the second. The Cardinals closed out the match with a 25-12 win in the final frame.
Florida’s offensive attack was led by a 13-kill effort from Sofia Victoria, while Thayer Hall posted seven kills on the afternoon.
Marlie Monserez dished out 20 assists in the match, to go along with four kills, three blocks and three digs.
As a team, the Gators posted seven blocks at the net, with Merritt Beason, Bre Kelley and Monserez each registering a team-high three blocks. Lauren Forte and Nnedi Okammor each added two blocks of their own in the match.
Beason led the backcourt defense for Florida, tallying eight digs on the afternoon. Elli McKissock added seven of her own, while Hall and Victoria pitched in six and five, respectively.
Trinity Adams and Monserez each had one ace apiece to lead the way behind the service line.
No. 16 Seed Florida (22-9, 14-4 SEC)
No. 1 Seed Louisville (31-0, 18-0 ACC)
How it Happened
- The Gators jumped out to the early 3-0 lead in the first set, but the Cardinals answered with a 7-0 run to force a Florida timeout at the 7-3 mark. Out of the break, Louisville took a seven-point lead at the 12-5 mark, but Florida pulled back to within five at 12-7. With the Gators in striking distance, the Cardinals put together another run, this time taking the 17-8 advantage to force Florida’s final timeout of the set. After the timeout, Florida cut its deficit to just five at 21-16, but Louisville closed out the first set with a 4-0 run.
- Victoria led the way with five kills in the frame, followed by three from Monserez and two from Kelley.
- The second set was a back-and-forth battle between these two squads to start, with neither team holding more than a two-point advantage until Louisville pulled ahead three at the 12-9 mark. Florida knotted the set up once again at 14-all, but it was the Cardinals that took the 15-14 lead into the media timeout. Out of the break, the Gators battled back and overtook the Cardinals, taking the three-point advantage at 21-18. Louisville then cut its deficit to just one at 21-20, forcing a Florida timeout. The Cardinals closed out the set on a 5-0 run out of the timeout to go up 2-0 in the match.
- Hall posted a team-high five kills in the second set, followed by four from Victoria.
- Louisville jumped out to the quick 6-2 lead in the third frame, forcing Florida to use its first timeout. Out of the break, the Gators pulled to within three at 9-6, but the Cardinals strung together an 8-2 run to take the 17-9 advantage. Florida got one back at 17-10, but Louisville closed out the match on another 8-2 run to clinch the victory.
- Victoria posted a team-high four kills in the frame, while Beason, Hall and Monserez each registered one kill apiece.
- The Gators are now 79-32 in the NCAA Tournament, including a 78-31 record until Mary Wise
- UF drops to 8-1 in the all-time series against Louisville
- Florida is now 6-1 against Louisville in three-set matches
- Marlie Monserez finishes her career in the Orange & Blue fifth in program history with 3,680 assists
- She is only the second setter in the rally-scoring era to record at least 3,500 assists for the Gators (Angie McGinnis – 2004-07)
- During the 2021 season, she earned five SEC Setter of the Week awards and two SEC Overall Player of the Week honors
- Thayer Hall finishes her tenure as a Gator in the Top-10 in two categories:
- She finishes 10th in program history with 1,298 kills
- She finishes fifth in program history with 3,557 attacks Has earned AVCA All-America honors during each season of her career thus far
- Lauren Dooley rounds out her career as a Gator 21st in the record books for total blocks (313)
- During her tenure, she became just the second Gator player to earn back-to-back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors
- After joining the Gators in Jan. 2021, Forte made an immediate impact on the Gators. She finishes her career at UF with a .422 hitting percentage
- Two-time All-SEC honoree in her two seasons with Florida (Spring 2021, Fall 2021)
Coach Wise Press Conference Opening Statement
“Congratulations to Louisville, I think they played a very clean match. Certainly, their offense was significantly better than our offense today. Wish them the very best of luck going forward.”