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Sunday September 17, 2006Killingsworth Nabs Career-Best 23 kills, 20 digs, But VB Falls At South Carolina, 3-1

COLUMBIA, S.C.

Kisya Killingsworth became the first Gator since 2002 to record 20-plus kills & digs

University of Florida junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) recorded a career-best 23 kills and 20 digs, but it wasn’t enough as South Carolina handed the Gators their second defeat of the season 3-1 (22-30, 34-36, 30-26, 24-30) on Sunday afternoon at the Volleyball Competition Facility.

 

Florida (8-2 overall, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) had four players finish in double-figures in kills, but couldn’t overcome the effort by South Carolina’s Shonda Cole, who had 35 kills on .462 hitting. The Gators finished with more blocks (12.0-9.0), aces (7-6) and digs (73-67), but South Carolina ended the contest with more kills (82-69) and out-hit the Gators .314-.257.

 

“Kisya Killingsworth has put together two elite performances back-to-back with about an hour of practice playing in the back row,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “I thought the difference in this match was the play of South Carolina’s senior setter and senior outside hitter.”

 

Killingsworth became the first Florida player since Aury Cruz on Dec. 14, 2002 to record at least 20 kills and 20 digs in the same match (Cruz had 24 kills and 20 digs against Washington State). In addition, junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) added a season-best 57 assists to go along with seven kills, seven digs and five block assists.

 

Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers, Gainesville, Fla.) tallied 11 kills on .533 hitting with six total blocks, while freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) added 10 kills on .500 hitting with six block assists.

 

Senior libero Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) ended the match with a career-high 18 digs, while junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) finished in double figures in points for the 10th consecutive match to start the year with 10 kills and 11.5 points.

 

The Gators had a rough opening to the match as the Gamecocks used a pair of 4-0 runs and a 5-0 run to gain enough separation in a 30-22 win. The game was close in the initial stages with the Gators jumping out to a 3-1 lead after an ace by Killingsworth. South Carolina came back to take the lead at 4-3 before the Gators tied things at 5-5 after a Bowers kill. South Carolina then tallied four straight points to jump in front 9-5. Florida came as close as two points at 12-10 after a tandem block from McCray and Johnson. But the Gamecocks answered with five more points to move out in front 17-10. South Carolina’s lead swelled to as many as 11 at 24-13, but the Gators fought back with a 6-1 run to pull within six at 25-19. South Carolina answered the call by siding out until claiming the win. The Gamecocks out-hit the Gators .263-.128 in the game, though Florida did record 4.0 blocks to just 1.0 for South Carolina. Killingsworth paced UF with four kills and five digs in the game.

 

The second game was an incredible battle that featured a total of six game points, including four fought off by the Gators, but South Carolina was victorious in the end in a 36-34 win. Neither team ever built a lead of more than three points in the entire game with Florida’s early 13-10 advantage standing as the largest deficit either team had in the frame. Florida later got a little separation when a 4-0 run turned a two point deficit into a 23-21 lead after a kill from Killingsworth on the left side. The Gators maintained their lead until South Carolina tallied three consecutive points to move out in front 27-26. The Gamecocks later had a 29-27 lead, but the Gators fended off two straight game points to tie things at 29-29. After a Gamecock point, Florida tied things at 30 on a Killingsworth kill from the left side and the Gators went on top 31-30 after another Killingsworth kill. South Carolina fought off a game point to tie it at 31-31 and fought off another to tie things at 32-32. The Gamecocks then went in front 33-32 before Killingsworth again staved off a game loss with a kill from the middle. South Carolina then notched another point to go ahead 34-33 before Killingsworth fended off another game point with a kill from the back row. But South Carolina ended the game with two straight points on a kill from Shonda Cole and a Cole block. Florida out-hit South Carolina .370-.333 in the game and had 4.0 blocks, but the Gamecocks tallied 29 kills to Florida’s 22. Killingsworth led Florida with eight kills in the game with Johnson and Bowers adding five each. Davis led UF with seven digs.

 

Florida used an 8-2 run midway through game three in turning a two point deficit into a four point advantage in a 30-26 win. In the opening the stages, the game was tied at 4-4 before the Gators recorded three straight points on a Johnson kill, a Killingsworth ace and a kill from McGinnis to move ahead 7-4. The Gamecocks fought back to tie the game at 10-10 and took a 16-14 lead. The Gators then tallied eight of the next 10 points to surge in front 22-18. McCray had a pair of kills in the stretch for the Gators. South Carolina came within one at 22-21, but Florida scored the next two on a Killingsworth kill and a Bowers ace to move ahead 24-21. South Carolina again came within one at 25-24, but the Gators tallied five of the next seven points before ending the game with an ace from Davis. Killingsworth again paced the Gators with seven kills in the game, while McCray added six as UF hit a blistering .415 in the game. Davis chimed in with a team high five digs.

 

In the fourth and final game, the Gators crept out to a small lead before a 6-1 run by the Gamecocks at the midway point provided enough of a cushion in a 30-24 win. Florida jumped out to a 5-1 early advantage following a South Carolina attack error before the Gamecocks rebounded to tie the game at 5-5. The Gators built a three point lead at 8-5 following a kill by McCray from the right side. The teams sided out until South Carolina went on a 6-1 run to forge ahead by a score of 20-18. Florida pulled to within one at 21-20, but the Gamecocks then tallied four straight points before going on to the win. Killingsworth led UF in both kills (4) and digs (9) in the game,

 

Florida will turnaround and face Auburn in Gainesville on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. The contest can be seen live on GatorVision Online and will be carried on both WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.

 

 

 

 

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