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UF Volleyball: Gators Fall to No. 3 Kentucky in Home Finale

Photo by Courtney Culbreath

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY KATIE CALLAHAN

Florida’s four seniors were honored prior to the match

The seventh-ranked Florida volleyball team fell to the No. 3 Kentucky Wildcats in the home finale on Saturday afternoon.

The Gators move to 17-3 on the year, while Kentucky is now 17-1 in the SEC-only format.

Kentucky took the first set 25-20, then followed with a 25-18 victory in the second. The Wildcats were able to clinch the match with a 25-21 win in the final frame.

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Lauren Forte led the way offensively for the Gators, recording 10 kills on the evening. Holly Carlton and Thayer Hall each added seven kills of their own.

Marlie Monserez dished out 24 assists in the three-setter.

As a team, Florida collected six blocks at the net, led by five from Lauren Forte. Monserez added three of her own, while T’ara Ceasar, Lauren Dooley, and Hall each tallied one.

Elli McKissock recorded a team-high 11 digs in the match, followed by nine from Monserez. Ceasar and Hall each added seven digs of their own.

The Gators head to Texas A&M for a two-match series beginning Wednesday, March 25. Both matches are slated for a 7 p.m. ET start and will air on the SEC Network +.

Records
No. 7 Florida (17-3, 17-3)
No. 3 Kentucky (17-1, 17-1 SEC)

How It Happened

  *   Florida jumped out to the early three-point advantage at the 7-4 mark in the first set, but the Wildcats continued to chip away, eventually tying the frame at 9-9. The teams began trading points until Kentucky put together a two-point run to take its first lead of the set at 15-14. The Wildcats built on their lead out of the media timeout, forcing Florida to call a timeout at 17-14. UF pulled to within one at 21-20, but Kentucky closed out the set on a 4-0 run to win 25-20.
     *   Forte posted a team-high four kills in the set, while Ceasar and Dooley added three apiece.
  *   Kentucky never trailed in the second set, grabbing the early 11-5 lead. Florida went on a 5-0 run to pull within one at 11-10, but the Wildcats were able to create distance again, going ahead 22-17 late. The Gators got within four at 22-18, but Kentucky went on a 3-0 run to clinch the set.
     *   Forte and Carlton each tallied three kills in the frame, while Monserez added two.
  *   The third set started as a back-and-forth battle between the two squads, until Kentucky was able to string together a 6-3 run to grab the 13-9 advantage. The Gators battled back to tie the frame at 14-14 and again at 17-17, but the Wildcats’ momentum led them to a 25-21 victory to clinch the match.
     *   Hall recorded six of her nine kills in the final frame, while Forte and Carlton each tallied three apiece.

Notables

  *   The Gators honored Holly Carlton, Paige Hammons, Darrielle King, and Mia Sokolowski prior to the match for Senior Day
  *   Florida is now 52-17 against Kentucky in the all-time series, including a 50-10 record under Mary Wise
  *   Florida is now 11-9 against Kentucky when both teams are ranked in the AVCA Top-25
  *   UF is now 2-2 against UK when both teams are ranked in the AVCA Top-10
  *   The Gators drop to 36-8 in three-set matches against the Wildcats

Up Next

  *   The Gators head to Texas A&M for a two-match series beginning on March 24
  *   Both matches are slated for 7 p.m. ET and will air on the SEC Network +

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