Wildcats Drop to No. 4 Florida, 3-0
Nov. 17, 2002
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - The University of Kentucky volleyball team closed out Southeastern Conference regular-season play with a 3-0 loss to No. 4 Florida on Sunday, Nov. 17, at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.
Leading Kentucky (13-15, 6-9 SEC) in the match was senior and Florida native Kristen Batt with 12 kills and six digs. Amy Kaplan had solid play in the middle with five kills on .625 hitting. Liz McCaslin was strong off the bench with four kills on .333 hitting.
The Gators, who claimed the SEC Championship with a 3-0 victory of South Carolina on Friday, were led by Aury Cruz with 16 kills. Florida's win give them a perfect 16-0 SEC season and extends their SEC regular-season win streak to 114 matches, dating back to September of 1995.
The Gators opened up with a 3-1 lead before a solo block by Kaplan pulled UK within one. UF then used a 4-1 run to take the 8-3 edge. The Cats would pull within two again at 8-10 after a Florida service error, but a 9-2 Gator run would give UF distance at 19-10. Florida would build to a 10-point lead at 26-16 and the Cats would get no closer than seven with UF winning the first go-round, 30-22. UK hit a solid .242 for the game, led by Sissy Canfield with four kills on .375 hitting.
Florida busted out to a 9-3 lead to start the second game, but UK was able to regain its composure and cut it to three at 12-9. UF would continue to dominate, however, stretching the lead to 11 at 25-14, including a stretch dominated by Cruz, causing the Cats to burn a timeout. The Cats would go even with Florida from there, falling 30-19, handing UF a 2-0 advantage at the break.
After falling behind 6-2 to open game three, UK used a 6-3 run to cut the lead to one at 9-8. A Cruz ace gave the Gators a 14-10 advantage. On the next point, the Cats appeared to be rallying when Canfield went down with an injured right ankle. She would need assistance off the floor, temporarily delaying the game. Julie Davis, playing in just her second game at UK, would replace Canfield. Kentucky couldn't catch the Gators, despite solid play after the injury. The Wildcats would get as close as four at 28-24, but two in a row by Florida gave the Gators a 30-24 win.
Florida now owns a 27-9 advantage in the series, which dates back to the 1977 season.
UK returns to the court on Friday, Nov. 22, when they open play in the SEC Tournament in Fayetteville, Ark. Pairings and match times will be announced on Monday, Nov. 18. The Cats will most likely receive the tournament's eighth seed and a rematch with the top-seeded Gators.