No. 15 Kentucky Falls on the Road at No. 2 Florida
Oct. 11, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 15 Kentucky Falls on the Road at No. 2 FloridaKentucky returns to action Sunday at South Carolina
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 15 Kentucky traveled to second-ranked Florida and fell 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-20) despite a match-high 15 dig performance from junior Jackie Napper.
With the loss, Kentucky falls to 12-4 and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference action. The Gators improve to 16-1 and 5-0 in league play. UK remains on the road and will take on South Carolina on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
"It's disappointing that we didn't play better at the end of all three sets," UK coach Craig Skinner said. "You have to give credit to Florida because they played aggressive all night and took advantage of its opportunities. To be able to win on the road against a top-five team you have to take advantage of your own opportunities and we weren't able to do that at the end of sets. We have to get back into the gym tomorrow and get prepared for South Carolina."
Napper led UK's floor defense with a match-high 15 digs. Senior Whitney Billings added 10, while freshman Anni Thomasson contributed seven and sophomore Morgan Bergren logged six. Senior Alexandra Morgan paced the offensive attack with a team-high six kills. Billings, junior Lauren O'Conner and sophomore Shelby Workman all added five apiece. Sophomore Sara Schwarzwalder chipped in with four kills and a team-high three blocks.
Florida opened the scoring to begin the first set, but UK fired back immediately and tied things at one set apiece. The home squad took the largest lead at 11-8, but UK strung together three-straight points highlighted by a joust at the net from Billings tied the match at 11. From there the teams would trade points before UK claimed a 15-14 edge at the TV break thanks to a Morgan kill. Out of the break the Gators scored two-straight to reclaim the lead. Florida stretched the lead to four at 20-16 and UK opted to take its second timeout of the stanza.
Thomasson led the way for UK with three kills, but UK accounted for just nine on a .056 hitting percentage. The Gators charted 16 kills on a .306 clip and committed six service errors. Billings had five digs and Napper added four as UK charted 15 scoops, but the Gators tallied six blocks to aid the cause.
Bergren and Morgan opened the scoring to begin set two and Billings got three quick kills to lift UK to an early 4-2 lead. Kentucky stretched its lead to 6-3, but the Gators fought back to tie the score at six. The Gators immediately gave UK the lead with another service error. After the teams traded points, Florida was able to get three-straight for its first lead of the stanza at 9-7. Florida continued to put pressure on the Cats stretching the lead to 11-7. Workman ended the run with a kill down the line following a Wildcat timeout. A terrific rally from both squads ended in an erroneous attack for the visitors to pull back to within one at 16-15, prompting a timeout from the Gator bench. Kentucky would not get any closer as the home team scored nine of the final 16 points of the set.
Florida struck for 21 kills in the frame on a .347 percentage, while UK managed 12 on a .262 clip. Morgan and Billings led the way with four kills apiece.
The third set began with a back-and-forth battle until the home squad claimed an 8-4 lead after charting a 4-0 run. Kentucky fought back and pulled to within two at 10-8 thanks to a kill from Schwarzwalder. A 17-13 Florida lead shrunk 17-15 with a kill from O'Conner. That was all the closer UK could get as the Gators ended the set on a two-run for a 25-20 victory.
O'Conner had four of Kentucky's eight kills and utilized a .667 hitting percentage in the set. Florida attacked at a .500 rate and laid down 17 hammers.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky volleyball team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info on the volleyball team like Kentucky Volleyball on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter at @KentuckyVB.