Wildcats' Upset Bid Falls Short at No. 1 Florida
Oct. 24, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Kentucky’s upset bid at No. 1 Florida fell short as the Gators were able to escape a wild second-set finish for a 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-13) win in Gainesville, Fla., Sunday afternoon.
Kentucky falls to 11-11 overall on the season and 5-7 in Southeastern Conference action. Florida improves to 18-1 overall and 11-0 in SEC action.
The Wildcats were led by a seven-kill performance on .636 hitting by junior Gretchen Giesler. Senior Lauren Rapp matched the seven kills while also adding a pair of blocks. Setter Christine Hartmann dished out 24 assists, posted five kills and added a team-high eight digs.
Florida earned the early advantage, but freshman Whitney Billings came up with a kill and seniors Blaire Hiler and Rapp teamed up for a block to give UK the 2-1 lead. Kentucky maintained an early edge stretching its lead to as many as three at 8-5 after another early kill from Billings. The Gators fought back to knot the score at 10 and then posted consecutive points to take a 12-10 advantage.
Out of a timeout the Wildcats posted consecutive kills from the hands of junior Becky Pavan and Giesler to tie the score at 12. The teams swapped points until the Gators earned three straight kills to take its largest lead of the stanza at 16-13 and forcing UK to use its final timeout.
With Florida leading 21-14, Kentucky began to climb back into the mix with four straight points highlighted by an ace from Klefot to make the score 21-17. Kentucky continued to fight and consecutive kills from Pavan and Hiler made the score 23-21 and Florida opted to use a timeout. The Gators wasted little time in scoring the next two points to win the opening frame at 25-21.
Kentucky out-hit the Gators by a .333-to-.312 margin with UK totaling 16 kills compared to 14 for the home team. Giesler paced the attack with four kills on a stellar .800 hitting clip. UK posted 13 digs in the stanza led by five from Hartmann.
The second set provided spectacular play on both sides of the net as neither squad could muster a lead more than two points throughout the early stages of the frame. Kentucky maintained an early lead until the score was tied at 10. Immediately, UK came up with a kill from junior Ann Armes and forced the Gators into an erroneous attack to reclaim the edge. However, Florida responded by totaling a two-point run of its own. Florida would eventually claim a two-point lead at 15-13 and UK opted to use its first timeout.
Kentucky fought back to tie the score at 16 thanks to Hiler’s third ace of the stanza. The teams exchanged points back and forth and a solo rejection by Armes lifted UK to an 18-17 edge and Florida chose to use its first timeout.
Out of the break, Florida scored the next two points and the home team took a one-point lead at 20-19 and Kentucky took the opportunity to use its final timeout.
Rapp and Pavan combined for a block to tie the score at 20 apiece. The teams then traded service errors, before Florida posted consecutive kills to go up 23-21. Giesler hammered down her sixth kill of the match and Hartmann came up with a terrific solo block to tie the score at 23 and Florida used its final timeout.
Florida quickly went up set-point and had three opportunities to close out the frame, but a pair of kills from Hartmann and one from Giesler kept the stanza alive. Florida was eventually able to string together consecutive points at to win the set 28-26.
Kentucky once again utilized a higher hitting clip with a .276 percentage in the second set, and Florida managed a .226 percentage in the set. Hartmann and Giesler both totaled three kills each in the set with UK also totaling four blocks compared to just one from the home team.
Florida jumped out to an early lead with a 7-2 edge to begin the third stanza. Kentucky pulled to within as close as 10-7 after a kill from Armes, but the home team was able to stretch its lead to six at 15-9 after consecutive kills. UK would never get any closer as the Gators ended the set on a 10-4 run and win the match 3-0 with a final set 25-13 win. The teams combined for 13 service errors in the stanza to conclude the match.
Kentucky will return to action for a pair of home dates next weekend. UK first takes on Georgia on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. ET. UK will then welcome Auburn for a 1 p.m. ET match on Sunday, Oct. 31. That match will be televised live by Fox Sports South.
Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.