Scott Stricklin

Gator Volleyball Drops Home Finale Against Kentucky

The nationally ranked Florida volleyball suffered a 3-0 loss (25-23, 26-24, 25-17) against number 18 Kentucky at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Sunday afternoon. The Gators needed a win to secure a share of the 2022 Southeastern Conference championship but fell in straight sets against a determined Wildcats squad.

After an even weekend series, Florida and Kentucky remain tied atop the SEC standings with a 13-3 record and two matches left to play. The Gators will face Ole Miss on the road on Friday and Saturday, while the Wildcats host South Carolina.

Bittersweet Senior Night

Before the first serve, the Gators honored outside hitters Rhett Robinson and Marina Markova on Florida’s Senior Night. The duo transferred to UF this season from North Texas and Syracuse, respectively, and impacted the 2022 roster.

Robinson, a graduate student pursuing a certificate in sports management, has come from the bench five times this season, posting a four-kill performance against Georgia Southern on September 9.

Markova, a senior studying education sciences, has been at the forefront of the Gators’ offense playing all 26 games this year. So far, St. Petersburg, Russia, native is averaging 3.11 kills per set with a .273 hitting percentage and 67 total blocks.

Wildcats Bounce Back

Kentucky came out looking for redemption after being swept on Saturday.

The Wildcats took a heavily contested first set after both teams chased each other on the scoreboard. During the frame, there were eight tie scores and five lead changes as the offensive units combined for 32 kills.

After being down 24-21 late in the set, the Gators closed the gap with two Kentucky errors, forcing a timeout. However, Wildcats’ outside hitter Erin Lamb secured the set with a powerful kill from the left side.

The second set followed a similar script.

Florida and Kentucky found themselves in a tight race, exchanging the lead seven times with 11 tie scores. The Gators had game point with a 24-23 lead, but a Wildcats’ 3-0 run, which included two kills and a UF attack error, was enough to sink Florida.

Kentucky dominated the final set from the start.

The Wildcats built a quick 10-6 lead before Florida retaliated by pulling within one with the score at 15-14. However, Kentucky again proved too strong, mounting a 10-3 run to complete the sweep.

Florida will return to the court Friday to face Ole Miss on the road. The match is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will stream on SEC Network+.

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