Cats fall to the Gators to end 14-game winning streak


Leah Edmond spikes the ball during the match against Florida on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky lost 3-0. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

Keyera Jackson

On Wednesday evening, UK volleyball was on the wrong end of the anticipated rematch between the Cats and the Florida Gators, as they lost their winning streak after a 3-0 loss to the Gators.

As a team, Florida held Kentucky’s hitting to under .200, and they did it by improving their receiving of the Cats’ serves. Also offensively, the Gators had a lot of options and they were hard to defend for the Cats. 

“Florida had a great night offensively, and when you receive serve and put your setter in position to set all three options it is difficult for our block to get involved,” head coach Craig Skinner said after the game.

Defense was another key element to the Gators’ win over the Cats, specifically in the area of blocks, some of which were lead changers for the Gators.

The first set started as a close one between the two top ranked teams, but the Gators quickly got into a rhythm after a block from Rhamet Alhassan gave the Gators a 6-3 lead. 

Following that play, the Gators were slicing the ball through Kentucky’s defense, once leading 12-6.

However, the Cats put up a fight and a kill from team leader Leah Edmond cut the Gators lead to just two points, but Florida was still up 15-13.

Florida was rejecting Kentucky’s ball at the net, determined to not let them find a rhythm.

Edmond tried to extend the set with a kill, but the Gators answered back and won the first set.

Moving into the second set with a set-win under their belt, Florida did not let up against the Cats and they gained an early lead of 6-3.

Errors became an issue for the Gators and Kentucky continued to be competitive for every possession. A kill by Emily Franklin put Kentucky within one point of the Gators early in the second set. 

Kentucky took a lead over Florida after an ace from Gabby Curry, and the Cats carried that energy and extended that lead to 12-9, but the hitters for Florida were finding the gaps in Kentucky’s defense and they were able to connect to the floor. 

Florida had four players who hit five or more kills in the second set, and their offense carried them back into the set. Florida eventually re-took the lead and won the set.

Being down 0-2 going into the third set, the Cats were not backing down from the challenge and they got on the board first 1-0 with another kill from Edmond. Edmond would finish as the Cats’ leader in the kills department with 16. 

Both teams were battling to establish a lead and go on a run, but that was a difficult task for both teams who were in close range the entire third set.

However, Florida was able to get another hot hitting hand at the end, which completed the sweep over the Cats.

This loss for UK ends their 14-game winning streak, but next up the Cats will take on South Carolina on Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m.