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Friday September 8, 2006No. 6 VB Sweeps UCF To Win 36th Straight Match Against In-State Rivals

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) tallied 11 kills on .429 hitting in leading a balanced attack for No. 6 Florida as the Gators swept Central Florida (30-19, 30-21, 30-16) before a crowd of 3,022 fans on the opening night of the Campus USA Credit Union Classic Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Florida (5-1) won its 36th consecutive match against teams from the state of Florida and ran its record to 36-0 at home against schools from the state under head coach Mary Wise. The Gators finished with more kills (46-25), digs (40-42) and blocks (8.0-3.5) and out-hit the Knights .340-.009.

 

“Tonight’s performance – though not crisp throughout – had some good things in it,” Wise said. “There’s still a lot for this team to learn and we’re a long ways from peaking. But, for us to hold Central Florida to almost .000 hitting and for us to hit .340 – we definitely did some good things out there.”

 

Junior Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) set the Gators to their second-straight match of .330 hitting or better, while collecting 35 assists and four kills. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) also finished in double-figures in points for the Gators with seven kills on .455 hitting, while adding three blocks and totaling 11.0 points. Freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) added a match-high 18 digs for the Gators. Senior Stefanie Douglas (Belton, Texas) also added a season-high seven kills on .556 hitting to go along with three blocks.

 

The Gators had little trouble in disposing of the Knights in the opening game in a 30-19 win. Florida put six of the first eight points on the scoreboard with three Gators recording kills in the stretch. After UCF pulled within five at 10-5, the Gators mounted a 6-0 run with senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) serving five of the points. Junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.), Douglas and McCray had kills in the run, while junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) and Douglas combined for a block to give UF a 16-5 advantage. The Knights never threatened the rest of the way before McGinnis ended the game with a kill. Florida out-hit the Knights .351-.028 and finished with more kills (16-8) and blocks (4.0-2.0). Douglas paced all players with four kills in the game, while Cusack had a game-high six digs. Douglas also led all players with three blocks.

 

The Gators used a 5-0 run in the midway stages of the second game to turn a close frame into a relatively easy 30-21 Florida win. The teams traded points in the early stages with the Knights pulling within one at 12-11 before UF tallied the next five points. Freshman defensive specialist Alli Cecchini (Brentwood, Calif.) fueled the run with her serve, while McCray and Hampton contributed kills to go along with UCF errors as Florida’s advantage swelled to 17-11. The Knights came within five at 21-17, but the Gators then notched six of the next seven points in moving on top 27-18. The game ended with a Killingsworth kill on a slide play. The Gators again out-hit UCF .342-.143 in the game with 18 kills to just 11 for the Knights. McCray led all players with five kills in the game, while Cusack contributed a game-high 10 digs.

 

The final game included Florida’s longest run of the season in which UF scored 10 straight points in a 30-16 win. Behind the serve of Bowers, the Gators scored the first 10 points of the game. McGinnis, Killingsworth and freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) each recorded kills in the run, while Bowers added an ace and McGinnis and Johnson teamed for a block. The Knights never came closer than nine the rest of the way before McGinnis ended the contest with a kill. Hampton and McCray paced the Gators with three kills in the game, while Davis led the Gators with three digs. Florida hit .323 in the game, while holding UCF to -.176 hitting.

 

Play in the Campus USA Credit Union Classic concludes on Saturday. UCF will face FAMU at 12:30 p.m. with the Gators set to take on Illinois State at 3 p.m. Florida’s contest can be heard live at www.GatorZone.com.

 

Fans with a ticket to the Florida football game against UCF can use their ticket for free admittance to volleyball.

 

A free shuttle will run from the Oaks Mall to the O'Connell Center from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Beginning at 3:30 p.m., a fee to ride the shuttle wi3ll be instituted.

 

Illinois State 3, Florida A&M 2

The Redbirds (4-4) rallied from an 0-2 deficit in defeating Florida A&M (0-5) in five games (30-32, 21-30, 30-25, 30-23, 15-5) in the opening contest of the Campus USA Credit Union Classic.

 

 Kari Staehlin paced Illinois State with 24 kills on .408 hitting as the Redbirds out-hit FAMU .225-.142 and finished with more kills (76-62), digs (102-88) and blocks (10.0-7.0) in improving their record to 4-4 on the season. Libero Kasey Mollerus led all players with 30 digs.

 

Maria Andonova led the Rattlers with 27 kills on 86 swings (.209 hitting), while libero Rosa Rojas tallied 28 digs.

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