After losing to No. 5 Kentucky, the Gators knew the Wildcats earned the win. Rachael Kramer, Rhamat Alhassan and Mary Wise all shared similar thoughts following the match.
“They were digging up balls, blocking a ton of balls. They were just a very physical team,” Kramer said.
“Kentucky played well. They came out swinging. They had a really good game,” Alhassan said.
“We played the best in the country, or will be, or is one of the best,” Wise said.
Now, Florida is trying to move on.
“We are definitely looking forward to this weekend,” senior libero Caroline Knop said. “It’ll be the first time that we’ll be on the road twice on a Friday, Sunday. So, being on the road is kinda nice because you just get to focus on volleyball.”
To get past its loss to a top-five squad, Florida will have to travel to Alabama this weekend to face the Crimson Tide (14-7, 2-5 SEC) on Friday and the Auburn Tigers (11-7, 4-5 SEC) on Sunday.
Assistant coach Dave Boos said UF is trying to fix what it didn’t do well against Kentucky.
“We wanna go back and work on in practice and go out there and show improvement over the weekend,” he said.
Now, the Gators are trying to catch up with Kentucky in the SEC standings. The Wildcats currently hold the top spot in the conference and have a firm grip on the position with a perfect record through SEC play.
But despite their current standing in the SEC, UF is primed to make its 27th straight NCAA tournament.
Alhassan trails only Illinois’ Ali Bastianelli in blocks per set throughout the nation. Senior Carli Snyder is having arguably her best season as a Gator, holding a top-10 position in aces per set throughout the country and leading Florida in kills, points and aces.
As a team, the Gators rank in the top five in blocks per set and have held their opponents to a .141 hitting percentage this season.
While Florida has some stats to brag about, there is always room for improvement, and Boos touched on that when he met with reporters on Wednesday.
“We have to get better defending the right-side attack,” he said. “That was our big struggle against Kentucky. They exploited us over there. We have to find a way to make more plays, both blocking and defensively.”
You can follow Justin Ahlum on Twitter @justinn_case1, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.