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Kelsey Bowers became the first Gator in nearly two years to reach double-figures in blocks

Sunday September 24, 2006No. 10 VB Records Season-High 16.0 Blocks In Sweep of Alabama

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Kelsey Bowers became the first Gator in nearly two years to reach double-figures in blocks

Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) became the first Florida player in nearly two years to reach double figures in blocks in leading the 10th-ranked Gators to a sweep of Alabama (30-28, 30-18, 30-17) before a crowd of 2,025 fans on Sunday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

The Gators (10-2 overall, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) recorded a season-high 16.0 blocks in just three games, while improving to 25-0 all-time against the Crimson Tide (7-6, 2-2). Florida finished with more kills (43-37), digs (49-45), aces (7-3) and blocks (16.0-7.5), while out-hitting Alabama .264-.083.

 

“The key to the match was winning game one,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “We won that game because of great blocking and support from the crowd. That was really critical. Our game plan was that the key to beating Alabama was to keep their great middle blocker and great outside hitter in check and we were able to do that.”

 

Bowers ended the match with 10 total blocks (3 solo, 7 assists), while adding five kills. A UF player hadn’t reach double-figures in blocks since Michelle Chatman recorded 12.0 vs. Tennessee in five games on Nov. 21, 2004. Junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) led all players with 12 kills and 13.0 points, while junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) finished with 36 assists, six digs, five block assists and four kills. McGinnis broke the record for block assists in a career by a setter in surpassing the old mark of 205 by Jen Sanchez).

 

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) chimed in with nine kills on .368 hitting with four block assists, while junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) paced the Gators with 11 digs and also recorded eight kills on .364 hitting.

 

The Gators put on a strong block and overcame a late three-point deficit to claim a win in the first game, 30-28. Florida started well and used an early 5-0 run to jump out to a 10-6 lead following a tandem block from Bowers and McCray. The Crimson Tide came back with a 9-3 run to turn that deficit into a 16-14 advantage. The Gators tied the game at 16-16 after ace by McGinnis, but Alabama then tallied the next three points to move in front 19-16. Florida eventually tied the game at 21-21 after a service ace from freshman defensive specialist Alli Cecchini (Brentwood, Calif.), but the Crimson Tide again responded with a pair of points to move ahead 23-21. Florida answered with a 5-1 run in which the Gators had three blocks, the last of which by McGinnis and freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) gave UF a 26-23 advantage. The teams sided out the rest of the way with Florida closing out the game when McCray notched a kill. The Gators tallied 7.0 blocks in the game with Bowers collected three solo blocks and a pair of block assists. McCray paced all players with seven kills in the game on .667 hitting, while Hampton led the Gators with four digs.

 

Florida jumped out to a 6-1 advantage in the second game and never looked back in a 30-18 win. After each team scored a point to begin the game, the Gators went on a 5-0 run behind the serve of Killingsworth to move out in front 6-1. Johnson collected a kill and a block assist to help fuel the Gator run. Alabama came within four at 10-6, but Florida then put five of the next six points in the scoreboard to build a 15-7 lead. Bowers, Killingsworth and Johnson each recorded a kill in the run, while Bowers and McGinnis recorded a tandem block. With the block assist, McGinnis set the UF record for blocks by a setter with 206 in her career. The Crimson Tide never threatened the rest of the way before Florida scored the final four points to claim the win with Killingsworth hammering down the final point on a kill. Killingsworth led all players with five kills in the game on .455 hitting as the Gators out-hit Alabama .351 to -.051. Florida’s block was again strong as the Gators collected 5.0 blocks as McGinnis led all players with three. Senior Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) paced UF with five digs.

 

The Gators dominated the third game and used an early 12-2 run to take control in a 30-17 win. Florida again started strong by scoring seven of the first nine points in taking a 7-2 lead following a kill from Killingsworth. Alabama scored two straight points before Florida then went on a 12-2 run to surge out in front 17-6. Killingsworth notched a pair of kills in the run as did Hampton. Alabama came as close as nine points on several occasions, but couldn’t get any closer before the match ended with a kill from the left side by senior Stefanie Douglas (Belton, Texas). The Gators out-hit Alabama .344 to .111 in the final game with Hampton collecting a game-high six kills on .545 hitting. She also led the Gators with five digs, while Bowers added three blocks.

 

Florida returns to action on Friday, Sept. 29 when the Gators travel to Lexington to face Kentucky in an 8 p.m. (ET) start. UF will turn around and come home to face No. 17 Tennessee at 1 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 1. Both matches will be carried live on WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com, while the Tennessee matchup will be available on GatorVision Online.

 

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