GAINESVILLE, Fla. – It wasn’t in the cards for the Rebels on Sunday despite a strong second set as Ole Miss (8-15, 5-11 SEC) couldn’t find a rhythm in the first and third sets in a 3-0 (13-25, 22-25, 10-25) loss to No. 17 Florida (19-5,12-3 SEC).
Regina Thomas led the Rebels with four kills and three blocks as a part of a .300 hitting performance against the Gators, while Amanda Philpot hit .333 with five kills.
“Hats off to Florida today,” said Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin. “They played a good game today at the service line and really put pressure on us from the start. We struggled with our first contact and that put us into a deficit from the start. We’re looking forward to getting back home and facing a pair of good squads in Tennessee and Kentucky next weekend.”
Florida scored first to open the match, grabbing the first four points before the Rebels would get on the board when the Gators hit a ball wide trying to avoid the Ole Miss block. The home standing Gators continued to push out in front, sending the Rebels to the bench with a timeout down 8-2 early.
The lead continued to grow for the nationally-ranked Gators out of the timeout and Ole Miss again went to its bench with its second timeout down 13-3 as the Rebels sought to find an answer to the Gator attack. Ole Miss couldn’t find the answer in the first set, however, dropping the first frame 25-13.
The Rebels scored first in the second set and started a back-and-forth struggle early as neither team could establish a clear rhythm and traded scores with repeated side outs. At the media timeout, Ole Miss found itself down 15-13 to the Gators.
Ole Miss scored out of the break on a deep kill from Amanda Philpot to cut the lead to one, but the Rebels couldn’t retake the lead despite tying the match four times and sending Florida to the bench in a timeout with the score tied at 21.
The Gators scored two quick points out of the timeout and the Rebels responded with a timeout to attempt to halt the Florida run. Ole Miss couldn’t stop the run, dropping the second set 25-22.
The start to the third set was a repeat of the second with the two teams trading scores early, including a couple of long rallies that went up for grabs. Florida used a quick run to move out to a four point lead at 10-6 that sent the Rebels into a timeout following a service ace from the Gators’ Kelly Murphy.
The Rebels got a big kill from Kellie Goss out of the break on a Florida overpass to get the Rebels back into the swing of scoring, but it wasn’t enough as the Gators continued to build on the lead and sent Ole Miss back to the bench in a timeout down 17-10.
Florida closed out the match from there, taking the third set 25-10.
Ole Miss will return to action next weekend with a pair of matches against top 20 teams with No. 16 Tennessee coming to town on Friday night and No. 20 Kentucky on Sunday. Sunday’s contest will be senior day for the Rebels as Ole Miss honors seniors Regina Thomas and Morgan Springer.
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