The Kentucky volleyball team took a 12-match winning streak into Gainesville, but it couldn't win three sets in a row to complete a rally over Florida.
The 25th-ranked Cats dug their way out of a two-set hole only to falter in the fifth and fall to the No. 9 Gators 25-21, 25-21, 16-25, 21-25, 15-8 in front of more than 2,000 fans.
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It was the first loss of the season in the Southeastern Conference for Kentucky (15-3, 6-1), and Florida moved into sole possession of first place in the league. Winter Park, Fla., native Sarah Mendoza led the Cats with 16 kills and 11 digs for the fourth double-double of her career. Junior Sarah Rumely added a double-double with 33 assists and 12 digs.
Junior BriAnne Sauer paced the UK defense with 20 scoops, but the Wildcats managed just nine blocks, well off their season average. Freshman Becky Pavan had 10 kills and a team-high three blocks.
Kentucky travels next to South Carolina on Sunday.