Sept. 27, 2009
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -
The volleyball team suffered its first Southeastern Conference loss of the season to No. 5 Florida 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-14) Sunday at the O'Connell Center. The loss drops the Crimson Tide to 5-9 overall and 3-1 in the conference, while the Gators improve to 10-1 on the season and 4-0 versus league foes.
"I would have liked to have seen us serve better and play better defense today," said head coach Judy Green. "Overall, I thought we were able to pass the ball well, but we were just out of sync against them. Florida kept constant pressure on us, and we were unable to do that to them. Florida is a very good team, and I have to give them credit for that."
Junior Alyssa Meuth and sophomore Ashley Frazier tallied seven kills apiece to pace the Alabama offense. Redshirt freshman Leigh Moyer hit .312 for the match with six kills off 16 attempts. Junior Kayla Schmidt dished out a team-best 13 kills, and freshman Kelsey Anderson led the way defensively with 10 digs.
"Leigh Moyer was a bright spot for us in this match," added Green. "She played well this afternoon."
Florida sophomore Kelly Murphy got the scoring started in the match with a kill, but a Gator service error on the next series tied it up at 1-1. Frazier, then, delivered an ace giving Alabama its first, and only, advantage of the set. The Tide kept it close early on, but a 9-3 Florida run midway through the frame provided the home team a comfortable buffer. With an 11-point lead, it appeared the Gators would close out the first easily, but Alabama wasn't done just yet. The Tide rattled off a trio of kills, two coming from Moyer, to keep the set alive. Alabama was able to fight off a pair of set-point opportunities for Florida before sophomore Kristy Jaeckel threw down a kill giving the Gators the 25-16 win.
In the second, it was all Florida from the start as the Gators cruised to a 6-1 lead forcing the Tide to take a time out. Redshirt sophomore Sarah Machen gave Alabama its first earned point of the set off the timeout with a kill from Schmidt. From that point on, Florida continued to distance itself from the Tide pulling in front by as many as 10 before Alabama was able to cut its deficit to eight behind a Moyer kill and a service ace from Anderson. The scoring run would be cut short as the Gators went on to tally four consecutive points for a 19-7 advantage and eventually closed out the frame by a score of 25-11.
Florida got in front early with a 2-0 lead, but the Tide kept it close and soon tied the third at 6-6 with another Anderson ace. The Gators then put together a 10-2 run setting the score at 16-8 in favor of the Orange and Blue. Florida's lead reached double-figures at 21-11 when the Gators laid down their 12th kill of the set. Alabama would score two additional points in the third before Florida ended the frame 25-14.
Next up, Alabama returns home to face division rivals Mississippi State and LSU. The Tide will face off against the Bulldogs on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. (CST) and will take on the Tigers Friday at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Friday's match against LSU will be televised live on Fox Sports South.