No. 5 Florida travelled to Columbia, Missouri, aiming to tighten its grip on the Southeastern Conference title with a victory over the No. 25 Missouri Tigers.
Missouri hitters Melanie Crow and Carly Kan had other plans.
Drawing the match out to five sets — the longest match the Gators (24-3, 14-2 SEC) have played all season — Missouri (23-5, 14-2 SEC) used its two hitters to defeat Florida 3-2 on Sunday, snapping the Gators’ 12-match winning streak. It was Florida’s first loss since Sept. 28.
Kan, a senior, totaled 25 kills, which are the most kills allowed to a single opponent by the Gators so far this season. She also notched 21 digs, marking the 21st time in school history that a Missouri player had a 20-20 game.
Meanwhile, Crow carved the Gator defense up for 20 kills. Overall, the Tigers smacked a .331 hitting percentage, the highest allowed by the Gators since their regular-season opener against Nebraska.
The Gators found it hard to create points for themselves early on, and that carried on throughout the latter portion of the match. After dropping the first set 18-25, they responded with a narrow 25-23 second set win that evened things up going into halftime.
However, Florida followed that by losing the third set 15-25, as they couldn’t get into an offensive groove despite a win in the fourth set. This offensive funk followed them into the final set, where they finally fell 10-15.
Florida leaned heavily on hitters Alex Holston and Carli Snyder, who combined for 41 kills. However, the Gators could only muster a .228 hitting percentage as a team, their worst since their Sept. 28 loss to Kentucky.
After wining 26 straight sets, Florida was stifled.
Missouri also benefited from sound defense, particularly from middle blocker Alyssa Munlyn. The sophomore totaled nine blocks during the match while the Gators tallied just five as a team.
With the loss, the Gators fell behind Kentucky for second place in the SEC standings and are tied with the Tigers with only two matches remaining on the conference schedule.
Florida has two days off before a mid-week showdown with Auburn back in Gainesville on Wednesday at 8 p.m.
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