The No. 2 ranked Florida volleyball team (18-2) suffered its first loss in SEC play on Sunday to the undefeated No. 18 ranked Missouri Tigers (23-0). Going into Sunday's match, the Gators and Tigers were tied atop the SEC standings but with the win Missouri is now in first place in the league. The Gators were only able to take one game in the match with the games ending 25-23, 25-23, 25-23 and 25-18 (Florida won the third set after being down 0-2.)
Missouri was lead by freshman Carly Kan (13 kills, 12 digs), junior Whitney Little (8 kills and a block) and senior Lisa Henning (12 kills). After the game, UF head coach Mary Wise praised the efforts of Kan and said she might have a pro career ahead of her, even at her height (5'8″).
“(Carly Kan) What a baller. She is a game changer. And the thought to have to play her for the next four years…. I will say this, If Carly were 6'2″ she might be… I don't know how fast she would get to make a whole lot of money (playing internationally as a professional),” said Wise. “She is a terrific player.”
Despite having more kills and a good ace-to-error ratio, Wise said her team didn't have enough ball control to win this game. She says they let Missouri play too much of their game and never made them uncomfortable.
“I think the difference was, Missouri was in system more. Whether that was off serving or transition digs, and our ball control just wasn't at the level it needs to be to beat this kind of team on the road,” said Wise.
Florida freshman Alex Holston had a career high 17 kills for the Gators, but Chloe Mann, Ziva Recek and Gabby Mallette all had hitting percentages below .300.
This was just the second loss of the year for the Gators with the other coming at the hands of the No. 1 team in the country, Penn State. Wise never wants her team to lose, but assures the fans that they will learn and be better because of this result.
“It was a great match. We will be better from it,” said Wise. “The good news is we're only halfway through the SEC. There's a lot of volleyball still left, and we'll have a chance to use this as a way of getting better.”
Next up for the Gators is a weekend at home where Florida will face Auburn and Tennessee in Gainesville.
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