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Amber McCray was named the Campus USA Credit Union Classic MVP

Saturday September 9, 2006McCray Leads No. 6 VB To Campus USA Credit Union Classic Title; Named Tourney MVP

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Amber McCray was named the Campus USA Credit Union Classic MVP

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) led No. 6 Florida for the second-straight match in kills (14) and was named tournament MVP as the Gators defeated Illinois State 3-0 (30-24, 30-18, 30-20) to win the Campus USA Credit Union Classic before a crowd of 3,345 people on Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

The Gators (6-1) won their 20th straight regular season home tournament match and finished undefeated for the 20th time at a regular season home tournament in head coach Mary Wise’s career at UF. Florida out-hit Illinois State (4-5) .350-.117 and finished with more kills (50-38), digs (66-50) and blocks (8.0-4.0).

 

“What we saw in Illinois State was a team that played very inspired volleyball,” Wise said. “That’s what we’re going to get time and time again. We started slowly, but we eventually got going and our players responded. On any given night, our leader in kills could be any player and it’s hard to defend all of us.”

 

Five different Florida players recorded five kills or more, led by McCray, who tallied 14 kills on .464 hitting. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) also reached double figures with 10 kills on .714 hitting with four blocks. Freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) had eight kills on .636 hitting with three blocks, while junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) collected eight kills and 10 digs.

 

Junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) also fared well with 38 assists, four kills, 13 digs and a block, while freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) paced all players with 19 digs. Senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) also reached double figures with 12 digs.

 

McGinnis and Bowers joined McCray on the All-Tournament Team.

 

The Gators fell behind in the opening game before using a 5-0 to pull even with the Redbirds midway through and a late 5-0 stretch to pull out a 30-24 win. Illinois State came out firing and surged to a 10-6 lead and later a 13-9 advantage. The Gators then tallied five consecutive points to move on top 14-13. McGinnis fueled the run with her serve with McCray and junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) adding a pair of kills. The teams remained close with neither moving ahead by more than two points before the Redbirds evened things at 23-23. Florida then went on its second 5-0 run with Cusack providing the serving as McCray recording a pair of kills in the stretch as UF moved on top 28-23. The teams traded points before Bowers ended the game with a kill. McCray tied for game-high honors with six kills on .600 hitting, while Davis tied for the game-high with four digs as UF out-hit Illinois State .351-.227.

 

The Gators wasted little time in jumping out of the gate in the second game, cruising to a 30-18 win. Florida scored eight of the first 10 points in racing out to an 8-2 lead after a Redbird attack error. Illinois came as close as five on five occasions, but could never get closer as the Gators gradually extended their lead before McCray closed out the game with a kill. Hampton led all players with five kills in the game with McCray chipping in with four. Cusack recorded a game-high nine digs, while McGinnis added six.

 

The final game was close in the opening stages before the Gators went on a 6-0 run to take control in a 30-20 victory. The Redbirds again came out fighting and took a 13-12 lead after a service ace. But Florida responded with the next six points with freshman defensive specialist Alli Cecchini (Brentwood, Fla.) holding serve in the run. Bowers fueled the offense with three kills in the stretch as Florida moved in front 18-13. Illinois State closed the gap to two at 18-16, but Florida recorded five of the next six points to build an insurmountable lead before the match ended on a kill from Hampton. Bowers led all players with six kills on .750 hitting, while Davis and Cusack each recorded eight digs. Florida out-hit the Redbirds .378 to -.021 in the final game.

 

Florida will conclude its pre-Southeastern Conference schedule when the Gators travel to Tallahassee to face Florida State on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m. The contest will be carried live on Sun Sports as well as WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.

 

Florida A&M 3, Central Florida 1

Maria Andonova led all players with 28 kills on .303 hitting in guiding Florida A&M (1-5) to its first victory of the season in a 3-1 (30-20, 22-30, 30-23, 30-20) victory against Central Florida.

 

Marrita Royster-Crockett also finished with 20 kills to lead the Rattlers, while libero Rosa Rojas collected a match-high 34 digs.

 

Maina Heming paced Central Florida (3-6) with 19 kills on .300 hitting, while Tricia Scott led the Knights with 21 digs.

 

Campus USA Credit Union Classic All-Tournament Team

Amber McCray, Florida (MVP)

Kelsey Bowers, Florida

Angie McGinnis, Florida

Kari Staehlin, Illinois State

Kasey Mollerus, Illinois State

Maria Andonova, Florida A&M

Maina Heming, Central Florida

 

 

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