By Nick Gray
The No. 24 UK volleyball team’s struggles continued Sunday against No. 13 Florida, falling to the Gators 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-18) in its first SEC game.
Junior middle blocker Alexandra Morgan once again tied a career high with 10 kills for the Cats’ front line (the only player with double digit kills for UK), while senior libero Stephanie Klefot had a match-high 18 digs in the loss.
UK struggled out of the gate after its eight day layoff from competition.
Florida controlled the net early, surging ahead 9-3 and never relinquishing the lead in the first set, winning 25-21.
The Gators forced the Cats to make seven errors in the opening set (.243 attacking percentage for the set) and only made one mistake of their own, providing 16 kills for a .469 attacking percentage.
“We didn’t serve tough enough to get Florida out of rhythm. They hit .376 against us and we had two blocks. Our serve, block and defense have to give us more points,” UK Coach Craig Skinner said. “Florida’s mentality serving was more aggressive than ours, and it allowed them to get easier swings during transition. They were on top of their game and had a good game plan and executed it, and it started with their serve and pass.”
In the second set, it was much of the same for each team, as UK was forced into eight errors leading to a .056 attacking percentage with only 10 kills. Florida replicated their kill total from the first set with 16 and only two attacking errors and a .387 attacking percentage for the frame.
The third set was the most competitive of the three sets. UK battled to a 15-14 lead, but six total errors from the Cats proved very costly as Florida took advantage on an 11-3 run and completed the three set sweep at 25-18.
The Cats had 20 attack errors overall (.150 attacking percentage) in the match to go along with seven service errors. UK also only totaled two blocks in the contest, compared to eight for the Gators.
The Cats fell to 6-5 (0-1 in the conference) on the season while Florida improved to 8-2 (2-0).
UK heads back on the road in the upcoming week, facing LSU on Friday, Sept. 21 at 8 p.m. EST before heading to Texas A&M on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2:30 p.m. EST.