- No. 9 Kentucky def. No. 1 Florida 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16)
- Kentucky moves to 16-2, 7-0 SEC; Florida drops to 14-1, 6-1 SEC
- Gainesville, Florida
- Attendance: 4245
- Box Score
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 9 Kentucky utilized a .309 hitting effort and 13 more kills to hand No. 1 Florida its first loss of the 2017 season in four sets.
The match, which was just the third between two top 10 teams in SEC history, pitted the conference’s last two unbeaten teams against one another as well.
The Wildcats moved to 7-0 by topping Florida 72-59 in kills and .309 to .200 in hitting efficiency. The Gators bested Kentucky 3-2 in aces and 10-6 in blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Leah Edmond led all hitters with 18 kills to go with nine digs. Senior outside Darian Mack (13), senior middle blocker Kaz Brown (11) and freshman outside Avery Skinner (10) also turned in double-digit kill tallies, while senior middle Emily Franklin added eight kills on an errorless .571 hitting percentage. Brown notched a team-best four blocks, while senior libero Ashley Dusek led the backcourt with 16 digs. Freshman setter Madison Lilley followed with 10 digs to round out a 52-assist double double.
Sophomore middle Rachel Kramer notched a team-best 15 kills on a .423 hitting effort to pace the Gators, while senior outside Carli Snyder and senior middle Rhamat Alhassan chipped in 10 apiece. Alhassan also put up at a team-leading six blocks, while hitting .409. Freshman outside Paige Hammons pulled up a team-high 13 digs, while redshirt junior setter Allie Monserez added nine.
“You’ve got to give Kentucky a ton of credit,” sophomore middle blocker Rachael Kramer said. “To come on the road, in our house, guns a blazing on every single swing? They did a great job of being balanced and setting all their options. There were times we looked great, where we looked like the No. 1 team in the country, and there were times that it just didn’t look right. Eventually, it just wasn’t enough.”
Kentucky broke away in Set 1 with a 5-0 run, featuring three Skinner kills, to take a 9-5 lead. Florida battled back to tie the score at 12 with five straight points, including a kill and solo block by Kramer. A trio of Gator miscues helped UK to a four-point edge at 18-14. The lead teetered between three and four over the next several points, before a Mack putaway put Kentucky on the hill at 24-20. Another Florida error sealed the 25-20 win.
The Gators took the early lead in Set 2, going up 6-3 as Kentucky made three errors. The Wildcats tied things up at 7-all with three straight Florida miscues. The teams tied four more times, last at 11, before UK pulled away with an 8-2 run. Three blocks, two by Brown, and kills by three different players lifted Kentucky to the 19-13 advantage. Florida did not go quietly, however, slicing the margin to one at 19-18 as the Wildcats aided the rally with four errors. Kills by Edmond and Mack and two UF miscues gave Kentucky a 24-21 lead. Another Edmond putaways gave UK the 25-22 win and 2-0 lead in the match.
Kentucky grabbed a quick 5-1 lead in Set 3, including four kills. The Wildcats boosted the advantage to seven at 12-5 as Edmond, Skinner, Franklin and Brown notched putaways. Snyder turned in four kills and a block to bring the Gators within one at 14-13. Another Snyder putaway knotted the score at 17. The teams split the next eight points, leading to a 21-all tie. Kills by Mack and Edmond gave UK a 23-21 lead. A kill and a block by Alhassan brought things even at 23, then a hitting error and a stuff by Cheyenne Huskey and Alhassan helped Florida steal away the 25-23 win.
The teams were back and forth early in Set 4, playing to a 6-all tie, before Kentucky raced ahead by nine at 18-9. Four Florida errors and two kills each by Franklin, Brown and Mack. A Snyder kill stopped the Wildcats momentarily, but two Brown blocks and a UF miscue lifted the margin to 11 at 21-10. The Gators scored four of the next six, with two Kramer putaways and a block by Alhassan and Shainah Joseph, to make it 23-14. Edmond put UK on the hill for the match at 24-14. Morgan Greer chipped in two kills to thwart a pair of Kentucky match point tries, but Skinner pounded down the final kill to secure the upset.
Victory! Kentucky! pic.twitter.com/7MC98nR13W
— Kentucky Volleyball (@KentuckyVB) October 15, 2017
Courtesy: Kentucky Volleyball
History! For just the third time in Southeastern Conference history two top-10 ranked teams squared off. The No. 8 Kentucky volleyball team exited Gainesville, Florida, with more than just a 3-1 (25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16) win over No. 1 Florida as a number of program records fell in the process.
For the first time in Kentucky volleyball history, the Wildcats topped the top-ranked team in the country. It is the third-consecutive win over the Gators on their home court; marking the first time in program history the Cats have achieved that feat. Florida was ranked in the top five in all three meetings. Kentucky has downed the Gators in three of its last four meetings which is the longest such streak since the Cats won six straight meetings from 1986 to 1990. The loss was the first of the season for Florida, which was the only remaining undefeated team in the country.
“I love the composure and toughness of the team after set three,” head coach Craig Skinnersaid. “I give a lot of credit to our seniors for leading the charge with their confidence. Darian Mack was big time Mack today. This team continues to impress us as a staff with how much they want something else, something beyond what they’ve done before.”
With the win, Kentucky improves to 16-2 overall on the season and 7-0 in league play. UK is the last remaining undefeated team in league competition. Florida falls to 13-1 overall and 5-1 against league foes.
A season ago, Kentucky walked into Gainesville and dominated defensively. This season the offense was too much for Florida to handle.
Freshman Madison Lilley directed the offense to the tune of an average of 16 kills per set on a .309 hitting percentage. She dished out 52 assists while adding four kills and 10 digs. It is the eighth double-double of the year for UK’s dynamic freshman stalwart.
Sophomore Leah Edmond led the team with a match-high 18 kills, while senior Darian Mack had a season-high 13 kills on a .379 hitting percentage. Senior Kaz Brown logged 11 kills on a .474 attacking clip to go along with a team-high four blocks. Freshman Avery Skinner had 10 kills, including the match-clinching point. Senior Emily Franklin chipped in with eight kills on a .571 clip.
“We went in and played our game,” Edmond said. “We know there are going to be runs but it’s about how we respond. We just forgot the previous play and moved on to the next one. I never go into a game thinking we’re going to lose.”
Mack, a senior, is taking it all in.
“You don’t get this opportunity often,” Mack said. “We pounced on it and had fun with it. It starts with practice. We were all working together.”
Defensively, senior libero Ashley Dusek was simply the difference maker. She posted a match-high 16 digs, but the number of plays that do not show up on the scoresheet were invaluable to UK’s success. Freshman Gabby Curry added seven digs, while junior McKenzie Watsoncontributed a pair.
Kentucky dominated in nearly all phases of the match. UK bettered the Gators in kills (64-46), hitting percentage (.309-.200), assists (59-44) and digs (49-46).
Florida scored the first point of the set, but UK answered with a kill from Mack. Play seesawed until Florida was up 5-4, when UK rattled off five straight points, including three straight kills from Skinner that forced UF to call timeout. A Mack termination and Lilley ace put the Cats up 12-7, but Florida responded with three kills and made Kentucky burn a timeout at 12-10. Florida tied the set at 12-12, but UK put up three points to go up 15-12. Florida rattled two off, but another three point swing put UK up 18-14. Play seesawed until Florida got the lead down to 23-20. A Mack kill and ball handling error gave Kentucky the first set 25-20. The Wildcats hit .290 in the first set while Mack led the way with six kills.
Florida started the set on a three-point run. Kentucky got on the board after a service error. Play then went back-and-forth until UK was able to cut the lead down to 6-5. The Cats tied the set at 7-7 after two attacking errors. UK gained a lead at 9-8 after a Big Blue block from Mack and Franklin. UK gained the lead again at 12-11 after an Edmond kill. Edmond and Brown teamed up on a stuff block and forced Florida to call timeout. Florida got the lead to 14-13 after the timeout, but UK went on a five-point swing, capped by an Edmond ace to take a 19-13 advantage. Florida went on a five-point run, but UK would respond. Mack gave the Cats a 22-19 lead and UK would never surrender more that advantage. Edmond got the final point for a 25-22 win.
Kentucky grabbed the first two points of the set after kills from Franklin and Edmond. Florida scored, but UK rattled off three more points after kills from Edmond and Brown to force an early break for Florida. The Gators earned two out of the break, but Kentucky responded with a Mack kill to end the small run. UK went up 12-5 after kills from Brown, Franklin and Skinner. Florida cut the UK advantage to 13-10 and forced UK to use its first timeout. Kentucky held a one point advantage until Florida tied the set at 17-17. Play seesawed until Mack and Edmond went back-to-back to go up 23-21. Florida had four straight to win the match, 25-23.
Kentucky won the first two points after kills from Brown and Edmond. Florida tied the set at 3-3. Brown got the lead at 4-3 with a kill and play seesawed until Florida was up 6-5. UK rattled off three-straight with kills from Franklin and Skinner to go up 8-6. After UF scored, Uk rattled off five more, capped by a Mack kill, to go up 13-67. Play went back-and forth until 14-9, where UK scored four more, thanks to kills from Lilley and Edmond. UK took its largest lead of the match at 21-11 after a solo stuff from Brown. Back-to-back kills from Brown and Skinner lifted the Cats to a 23-12 edge. Edmond’s 18th kill of the match gave UK match point and then Skinner ended things with her 10th hammer of the day.
Courtesy: Florida Volleyball
Despite valiant efforts from middle blockers Rhamat Alhassan and Rachael Kramer, the top-ranked Gators (14-1, 6-1 SEC) fell, 3-1, to No. 8 Kentucky (16-2, 7-0) in what was the third top-10 matchup in SEC history Sunday afternoon.
Kramer logged 15 kills and just four errors on 26 attempts to post a .423 hitting percentage. The sophomore added three blocks (one solo) to total a team-high 17 points. Alhassan finished with 10 kills and only one error on 22 attacks for a .409 clip. The three-time All-American also turned in six blocks to tally 13 points.
For the week, Alhassan finished with 30 kills and one error on 48 attempts, registering a .604 hitting percentage, along with 11 total blocks for 36 points.
Kentucky’s offense, ranked fourth nationally entering this weekend (.329), hit an impressive .309 against the Gators’ defense, which came into the weekend ranked sixth in opponent hitting percentage (.139). Florida’s offense found some footing in the third set, as Carli Snyder broke out for six kills and no errors, though it finished with a .200 clip.
The first two sets were decided by five and three points, respectively, and the Gators fought back from a 12-5 deficit in the third. Florida also faced a 23-21 deficit late in the third, before rattling off a 4-0 run to win the set. Kentucky won the fourth set decisively (25-16).
Not the ending we wanted but looking forward to the next match! Highlights from the 4 setter with Kentucky!! ??? pic.twitter.com/kDvIv1h88M
— Gators Volleyball (@GatorsVB) October 15, 2017
Rachael Kramer’s 15 kills were a career high for a four-set match, topping her previous four-set high of 13 from last season’s win over Tennessee (Oct. 2, 2016)
The Gators recorded double-digit blocks for a fourth consecutive match and for the 12th time in 15 matches this year
Sunday was just the third time all season the Gators did not lead the match in digs
This is just the second time all season the Gators allowed their opponent to hit over .185, and only Arkansas (.253) had eclipsed that mark prior to Sunday
This is the first time in school history the Gators lost a match during the regular season as the nation’s No. 1 team (27-1 record), and their all-time record as the No. 1 team fell to 32-3
Florida’s overall record against Kentucky falls to 50-13 and to 48-6 under head coach Mary Wise
Florida’s 14-0 start to the year was the fourth-longest winning streak to open a season in school history
Florida travels to The Yellowhammer State for weekend matchups with Alabama and Auburn. The Gators face Alabama Friday night and Auburn Sunday afternoon.
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