#7 Florida ends perfect run for #3 Kentucky

Gators end Wildcats perfect season in five sets
Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 5:46 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - No. 7 Florida entered Friday’s matchup with No. 3 Kentucky hoping to avenge a five set loss from 2019, and put an end to the Wildcats perfect season.

The Gators (17-2) lost the first and third set by a combined 15 points (25-18, 25-17). But rallied to win the second set 27-25, and easily won the fourth, 25-16.

The match came down to a decisive fifth set, which favored Kentucky (16-1) in the all-time series, 7-6. It was neck-and-neck for the first eight points of the final frame, until Florida pulled ahead winning the next three straight points to lead 7-4. The two teams traded points and then Kentucky called timeout once the orange and blue made it 13-10.

With just two points to go, the O’Connell Center was electric with excitement. However, that pandemonium quickly went away once the blue and white rallied to tie the set, 14-14. The match would be decided in the next four points as T’ara Caesar recorded her team-leading 20th kill to make it 16-15, Florida. The final point of the match was scored on a sensational block by Holly Carlton and Lauren Dooley to secure the upset.

While the Gators had 14 less kills, they did hold a 9-5 advantage in aces, led by Caesar with three.

Lauren Forte and Thayer Hall combined to register 22 kills, as Molly Monserez posted 50 assists.

Florida will only have a short time to savor the victory, since they host Kentucky Saturday afternoon in the final match of the weekend.

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