Wildcats Wrap Up Weekend at No. 1 Florida

Oct. 23, 2010

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky volleyball team will resume action on Sunday with a date against No. 1 Florida on Sunday. Kentucky and Florida have formed a respectable rivalry in the past three seasons with every match needing extra sets to determine a winner. Florida took the first meeting of the season in Lexington, Ky., on the opening night of Southeastern Conference action.

Kentucky (11-10, 5-6) and Florida have split in each of the previous two seasons in their regular season matchups. In 2008, both home squads won in five-set matches. A season ago, the visitors claimed the match.

UK dropped a three-set match on the road at South Carolina Friday night despite 12 kills from senior Blaire Hiler and a match-high 19 digs from sophomore Stephanie Klefot.

Freshman Whitney Billings totaled eight kills and junior Becky Pavan matched that output in the loss. Senior Lauren Rapp and junior Gretchen Giesler lead the way defensively with four blocks each. Rapp also added six kills and 10 digs to her line.

Junior Ann Armes posted three kills and a pair of digs in a set of action. Setter Christine Hartmann dished out 35 assists and added five digs.

Florida enters the weekend as the nation's No. 1 team with a 17-1 overall record and a perfect 10-0 clip in SEC action after a three-set sweep of No. 21 Tennessee Wednesday night. The Gators have held the No. 1 ranking for two straight weeks and it's the first time an SEC team has been rated No. 1 since the Gators held the spot for multiple weeks during the 1996 season.

The Gators are led by do-everything player Kelly Murphy. Murphy leads the team with 3.17 kills per set on a .370 hitting clip. She also leads the squad with 5.51 assists per stanza and ranks third on the team with 2.23 digs per frame.

Florida earned a 3-1 victory over Kentucky on opening night of SEC play in mid-September. The Gators increased their overall lead in the series with the Wildcats to a 42-11 mark. The squads have split meetings in each of the last two seasons - with UK earning its victory in a dramatic five-set thriller in Gainesville a season ago.

In a match that rivaled the last five meetings between the squads with extra sets needed to determine a winner, then ranked No. 3 Florida staged a comeback effort to overcome a feisty No. 22 Kentucky squad with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-13, 25-20) win in front of 2,087 fans at Memorial Coliseum earlier this season.

It was the conference opener for both squads and the third-ranked Gators posted three straight set wins after the Wildcats emerged with a 25-18 opening set victory to set the stage for another back-and-forth battle between the rivals.

Armes had a career night for the Blue and White with a career-best 16 kills and a team-high nine digs, just missing out on her first career double-double. Rapp continued to shine with eight kills and a match-high six blocks to pace the Wildcats.

Follow along all season long with the Wildcats at UKathletics.com.