- #4 Florida def. #6 Kentucky, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-23)
- Florida improves to 19-1, 11-1 SEC; Kentucky falls to 19-3, 10-1 SEC
- Lexington, Kentucky
- Attendance: 5329
- Box score
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the first-ever battle between top six programs in the SEC, Florida won the revenge match against Kentucky in Lexington, 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-23). It was the Gators’ first sweep of a top 10 program since early in the 2014 season, and Florida has now knocked off its third top 10 opponent in a single season for only the third time in program history. Currently, Florida is the only team in the nation that owns three victories against teams in the top 6 in the RPI.
Offensively, the Gators were led by senior outside hitter Carli Snyder with 15 kills, hitting .517 without an error for her fourth-highest hitting percentage of her career. She added 8 digs and 2 blocks to the defense. Redshirt senior Shainah Joseph added 12 kills, hitting .476 on the night. Rhamat Alhassan chipped in 9 kills, hitting .500 and brought a match-high 7 blocks to the block party. Alhassan has now tied the all-time blocks record at Florida with Benavia Jenkins, who finished her career in 2003 with 601 total blocks. Setters Allie Monserez and Cheyenne Huskey ran the efficient (.327) 6-2 offense with 25 and 17 assists, respectively. Libero Caroline Knop led all defenders with a match-high 14 digs.
The Wildcats, who led late in each of the final two sets, had difficulty finding an additional terminator other than Leah Edmond. Edmond finished with a match-high 16 kills on .424 hitting with 3 blocks. No other Wildcat registered more than 6 kills in the match. Setter Madison Lilley ran the offense with 25 assists and had the match’s lone double-double by adding 12 digs. Libero Ashley Dusek had a team-high 13 digs.
Florida, prior to Wednesday’s match, owned the third-best opponent hitting percentage defense in the country. Kentucky, in contrast, held the fourth-best team hitting percentage in the country. Florida’s defense proved its superiority by holding the Wildcats to their worst hitting percentage of the season, at .170 (36-18-106). Additionally, with the win, Mary Wise notched victory #813, which places her 10th all-time for victories at one institution for all NCAA divisions. The announced attendance of 5,329 was the largest crowd at Memorial Coliseum in the Craig Skinner era.
Courtesy of Florida Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 4 Gators (19-1, 11-1 SEC) moved themselves back into a tie for first place in the Southeastern Conference standings with a sweep of No. 6 Kentucky (19-3, 10-1)—which was the program’s first sweep of a top-10 team since a 3-0 win at No. 6 USC on Sept. 12, 2014.
Wednesday was the fourth top-10 matchup in SEC history. Florida was 0-3 in the previous matchups, but winning the fourth is even sweeter considering it was the first matchup in history between two SEC teams ranked in the top six.
Florida’s hitting efficiency defense, ranked third nationally, stifled the nation’s fourth-ranked offense. Prior to Wednesday, Kentucky’s season-low hitting percentage was .199, and it hit over .300 in 13 of its 21 matches. The Gators held the Wildcats to a .170 clip, marking the third time this year they held a top-10 opponent at or below that efficiency, something no Gator team has done according to statistical records dating back to 1997.
The Gators’ offense was explosive yet again, notching a .327 hitting percentage. Senior outside hitter Carli Snyder and fifth-year senior right side Shainah Joseph were dominant. Snyder had the fourth-highest efficiency of her career (.517), amassing 15 kills, without an error, on 29 swings. Joseph tallied 12 kills and two errors on 21 attempts, registering a .476 clip.
Three-time All-American middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan was beastly as well, notching nine kills and one error on 16 swings (.500). Alhassan also recorded a match-high seven blocks, tying Benavia Jenkins’ (2000-03) school record for career total blocks (601).
Florida dominated the first set defensively, limiting Kentucky to a .029 clip. The Gators held off a late rally to win the second set, 25-23. And in the third, Florida erased 13-9 and 17-14 deficits, in addition to winning six of the match’s final nine points.
The win was No. 813 for Mary Wise as head coach of the Gators, passing Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Kris Russell (1981-04) for the 10th-most wins in history by a head coach at one NCAA school since 1981, the NCAA’s first season of women’s volleyball.
- Florida is the only team in the country with three wins over teams currently ranked in the top six of the NCAA RPI
- The Gators are the only team in the nation with three wins over teams ranked in the top six of the AVCA Top 25 Poll (ranking used at start of matches)
- Florida held a top-10 opponent at or below a .170 hitting percentage in a road match for the first time since holding No. 7 Hawaii to a .096 clip on Sept. 1, 2006
- The Gators have defeated three top-10 teams in the regular season for the third time in program history, joining the 1997 and 2010
- Florida is the only team in the nation with three wins over teams
- Florida hit above .325 for the fifth time this season
- In the last four matches (13 sets), Shainah Joseph has hit .481 with 44 kills and seven errors on 77 total attempts
- Joseph has six career matches with 10-plus kills, and Wednesday was her fifth of the season
- Joseph has 11 career matches with 10-plus points, and Wednesday was her seventh
- Carli Snyder‘s 15 kills tied the second-highest total of her career for a three-set match
- Florida improved its all-time record against Kentucky to 51-13, and to 49-6 under head coachMary Wise
Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a matchup featuring the two highest-rated Southeastern Conference teams in league history, the No. 4 Florida Gators prevailed by a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-22) margin over No. 6 Kentucky on Wednesday inside of Memorial Coliseum. The Big Blue Nation was electric as 5,329 fans – the largest in Memorial in the Craig Skinner era – came out to witness the showdown between the league’s top two teams. The loss snapped a 14-match winning streak for the Wildcats, which included taking down the Gators on their home floor a little more than two weeks ago.
“Florida played well tonight,” head coach Craig Skinner said. “Our team was prepared. They were focused and very into the day’s routine and getting ready. They was absolutely no give up after getting down 2-0. We got a lead and had a chance but Florida responded. Our team is tough and they certainly didn’t shy away from the moment.”
Kentucky falls to 19-3 overall and suffers its first loss within league play to move to 10-1. Florida improves to 19-1 and 11-1 against conference foes. The Gators’ lone loss on the season came at the hands of UK when UF was the country’s No. 1 ranked team.
UK returns to action on Sunday in a 1:30 p.m. ET tilt with South Carolina. The Gators assume a 0.5 match lead on the Wildcats in the league standings with tonight’s result, although they have played one more match than Kentucky within league competition.
In what was billed as one of the most highly anticipated matches across the country, the score was not indicative of the play on the floor. The teams were relatively even in most categories, with Florida benefiting from an efficient first frame offensively.
Sophomore outside hitter Leah Edmond continued to shine against the Gators, producing a match-high 16 kills. She’s had 16 or more in all three meetings with Florida in in her career. Edmond used an operative .424 hitting clip in the process. Senior Emily Franklin contributed six kills to the offensive cause.
Freshman setter Madison Lilley recorded a double-double with 27 assists and 12 digs. She also added two blocks and a kill. It’s the ninth double-double of her career.
Senior Kaz Brown chipped in with four kills and a squad-best three blocks. Classmate Darian Mack added three hammers. Junior Anna Nyberg contributed three kills and freshman Avery Skinner added a pair.
Defensively, Ashley Dusek had a team-high 13 digs. Tonight’s loss was the first of the season with Dusek as UK’s starting libero this season. Junior McKenzie Watson had six digs, while freshman Gabby Curry totaled two.
Edmond and Franklin teamed up for a block for the match’s first point, but Florida quickly answered with a kill. Play rocked back-and-forth until the Gators benefited from a lucky ace that just nipped the top of the net to give the visitor’s a two-point edge at 5-3. The Gators stretched the lead to three before Skinner found a spot in the back left corner to snap the run. Three consecutive errors gave the Gators a 9-4 lead and UK opted for an early timeout. Out of the break, Florida capitalized on a quick set to increase the lead to six. Skinner’s second kill of the early going quelled the run. Franklin converted on an overpass, Florida committed a setting error, Brown and Mack posted a block and then the Gators were caught in the net again to propel UK to a 4-0 run and bring the home team back to within two at 12-10. Florida responded with two straight to gain a comfortable four-point edge once again. Kentucky got within two twice more, but each time Florida had a response. Kentucky took its second timeout trailing, 19-14. Florida would not allow the Wildcats to get any closer and claimed the opening frame by a 25-19 margin.
The Gators began the second stanza by winning the first point, but Franklin took advantage of a triple block being just a tad early on the timing and found a hole. After play swung back and forth, the Gators captured a three-point lead at 6-3. The Wildcats eventually clawed back and grabbed a one-point lead at 9-8 behind a spectacular Curry ace. Edmond followed with a crowd-pleasing solo rejection to shift the momentum to the home team’s side. Consecutive kills from Edmond and Brown lifted the Cats to a three-point advantage at 12-9, forcing the Gators into a timeout. The Gators continued to chip away at UK’s lead and eventually grabbed a lead of their own at 16-15. This time, Kentucky chose to take a timeout. Out of the break, Franklin drew a kill along the line to tie things once again. The teams would trade points until Florida shook free for three straight to take a 20-17 lead and Kentucky opted for a timeout. The Wildcats got to within two on four occasions, the latest at 24-22, and Florida took a timeout. Out of the break, Brooke Morgan was inserted into the lineup and immediately converted an overpass, but the Gators prevailed by a 25-23 score.
Edmond opened the scoring with a shot down the line in the third. Play seesawed from there until Edmond and Nyberg produced consecutive kills for a 5-3 lead. The Gators then committed an illegal attack to extend UK’s scoring. Florida fired back and tied it at seven. A kill from Franklin off the block, followed by an ace from Lilley and then an Edmond hammer enabled the Wildcats to again claim a multi-point lead at 10-7. Kentucky’s lead moved to four after a kill from Edmond at 13-9. Florida managed a three-point spurt to pull to within one at 15-14, forcing Kentucky into a timeout. Nyberg came up with a kill following the break, but Florida would not go away and tied it at 17. The Gators eventually earned a lead at 19-18. Florida would stretch the advantage to two at 22-20. Kentucky opted to take its final timeout. Edmond crushed a shot to pull the Cats back to within one, but Florida again answered. It was all the more room the Gators would need as they prevailed 25-22 for the set win.