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Amber McCray notched 12 kills on .333 hitting against No. 10 UCLA

Sunday September 3, 2006Fifth-Ranked VB Falls To No. 10 UCLA

HONOLULU

Amber McCray notched 12 kills on .333 hitting against No. 10 UCLA

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) recorded 12 kills on .333 hitting, but it wasn’t enough to stop No. 10 UCLA, which handed fifth-ranked Florida its first loss of the season 3-0 (29-31, 28-30, 15-30) on the second evening of the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic at the Stan Sheriff Center.

 

Florida (3-1) held late leads in both the first and second games of the match, but UCLA (5-0) stormed back in both to snare the victory away from the Gators. The Bruins out-hit Florida .352-.246 and finished with more kills (68-28) and blocks (10.5-4.0).

 

“UCLA is a very talented team and we thought they’d give us matchup problems,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “I thought their setter – Nellie Spicer – was the difference in the match. She gave their hitters so many good looks. Our youth showed tonight, but you’ve got to give UCLA credit. Their experience was huge. But, we’ve still got a chance to come to Hawai’i and win two out of three matches tomorrow.”

 

The Bruins evened the all-time series with the Gators at 3-3 and Florida fell to 8-5 all-time when facing top-10 teams on back-to-back days.

 

Junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) led UF with 13 kills and added 13 digs for her third-straight double-double. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) chimed in with nine kills on .750 hitting and freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) tied for the team lead with 13 digs.

 

The Gators dropped the opening frame as the Bruins fought off a pair of match points to claim a 31-29 win. In the opening stages, the teams continually sided out with neither squad scoring more than two consecutive points until the television timeout when the Gators were up 15-14. That trend changed as UF tallied the next three points on a pair of UCLA errors and a Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) offspeed kill to move ahead 18-14. Florida extended its advantage to six after a kill from the pipeline by Hampton at 22-16 and later was on top 26-20 after a kill from freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.). But the Bruins battled back with five-straight points to cut Florida’s deficit to one at 26-25. The teams traded points until the Gators went up 29-27 after a Hampton kill on an angle shot, but UCLA spoiled Florida’s chance of winning the game with the final four points. The Bruins out-hit the Gators .339-.314 in the game and had more kills (25-20) and blocks (2.0-1.0), while UF had two fewer hitting errors (4-6) and one less service error (1-2). Hampton led UF with seven kills on .350 hitting, while also tying with Cusack for the team lead with seven digs.

 

The second game resembled the first as the Bruins shed a late five-point deficit in a 30-28 UCLA win. The teams again traded points early with the Gators using a 5-0 run fueled by Bruin attack errors to forge ahead 8-5. UCLA came back and knotted the score at 10-10 before Florida again took charge with five consecutive points with Hampton providing a pair of kills in the stretch. The Gators went on top by five at 20-15 after block assists from Killingsworth and McCray and later were ahead 25-19 following an Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) kill on an overpass. But the Bruins called a timeout and then went on a 7-1 run to tie the game at 26-26. Florida retook the lead on a Killingsworth kill on a slide play with UCLA answering to make it 27-27. McCray notched an offspeed kill to give UF a 28-27 advantage, but the Bruins sealed the game with the final three points. UCLA again out-hit Florida .312-.275 and totaled 23 kills to 18 for the Gators. Hampton and McCray tied for the UF lead with five kills each in the game, while Cusack paced the Gators with four digs.

 

UCLA turned a close game three in the opening stages into a convincing 30-15 win. The Bruins jumped out to an early 5-2 lead, but Florida responded with a pair of points to come within one at 5-4 before UCLA again went on top by three at 8-5. The Gators tallied the next three points on a kill by McCray from the right side and a pair of UCLA errors. But after UF tied things at 8-8, UCLA went on an 8-1 run in moving on top 16-9 and the Gators didn’t threaten the rest of the way. Bowers paced UF with four kills on five swings in the game, while Hampton added a team-high four digs.

 

The Gators will complete their trip to Hawai’i by facing Colorado on Sunday. The contest is slated to start at 8:30 p.m. (ET) and can be heard live on both WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.

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