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Ole Miss volleyball falls to Florida in SEC opener

A great crowd was on hand Friday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss for the volleyball team’s Southeastern Conference opener against No. 6 Florida. The Rebels gave them something to cheer about winning a competitive first set, before falling to the Gators 3-1 (26-24, 12-25, 15-25, 16-25).

Ole Miss falls to 11-3 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, while Florida improved to 11-1 and 1-0 league play.

The Rebels came out in the first set and went toe-to-toe with the Gators. They gained a 12-9 lead and maintained at least a two-point lead most of the way until the Gators tied it up at 20-20. The two teams traded points and Florida gained a set point at 24-23, but the Rebels won the final three points on a kill by junior outside hitter Lexi Thompson and sophomore right side hitter Kathryn Cather.

Ole Miss lost energy in the second, third and fourth sets, this resulted in the Rebels unable to close the block on either pin which allowed Florida to score deep cross court gaining momentum. After getting major production in the middle during non-conference play, the Rebels had trouble incorporating their middles against Florida, totaling just 22 attempts and three kills.

The pin hitters were senior Aubrey Edie’s go-to hitters tonight as Lexi Thompson, Kate Gibson and Kathryn Cather totaled 39 kills. Cather matched her career-high kills with 16, hitting .419. She was a terminator for the Rebels using her arm strength to deflect the Gators blockers.

The Rebels will travel to Columbia, Missouri to face Missouri Sunday at noon in a nationally-televised match on ESPNU.