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Sunday October 15, 2006Killingsworth & McCray Guide No. 8 VB To Sweep of No. 13 LSU as UF Takes Lead In SEC Standings

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) tallied 14 kills, while junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) added 12 kills on .350 hitting to guide the No. 8 University of Florida volleyball team to a sweep of No. 13 LSU (30-26, 30-22, 30-22) Sunday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Florida (16-2 overall, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC with the victory at the midway point of the conference season as UF now controls its own destiny in its quest for a 16th consecutive SEC title.

 

“At the midway point of the SEC season, this is a great win for our team,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “To beat a team like LSU – to out-block and out-dig them and hit above .300 – today, things just fell into place for us. But, there are so many matches left, including a match at LSU. It’s one thing to beat teams at home and it’s another to do it on the road.”

 

The Gators improved to 22-6 under Wise against ranked SEC teams as UF claimed its eighth-straight win of the season, 72nd straight against teams from the SEC Western Division and 21st consecutive match against the Tigers (16-3, 8-2). LSU entered the contest ranked when facing the Gators for the first time since 1992 and was swept for the first time in 2006.

 

Florida ended the contest with more kills (54-45), aces (4-1), digs (65-61) and blocks (9.5-7.0) and UF out-hit LSU .304-.135. It marked just the fourth time this season that LSU failed to hit at least .200.

 

The Gators moved to 83-43 under Wise against ranked teams overall and 36-11 vs. ranked opponents at home. In the last five seasons, the Gators have won 12 of 15 matches at home against ranked teams.

 

Freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) had a banner day for the Gators in finishing with a match high 23 digs, including 10 in the third game. She broke the UF record for digs by a freshman libero/defensive specialist in season and now has 240 on the year.

 

Junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) guided the Gators to a .304 hitting efficiency – UF’s eighth match this year above .300. McGinnis tallied 48 assists and 10 digs to record the 18th double-double of her career. Junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) also fared well for the Gators with 11 kills on .344 hitting with six digs.

 

Sophomore Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) took charge in the middle for the Gators with nine kills on .350 hitting with three block assists, while freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) tallied five kills on .444 hitting with four blocks.

 

The opening game was a tight affair with LSU holding a late two-point advantage before the Gators stormed back to win 30-26. The teams consistently sided out in the opening stages until the Gators put together a string of four consecutive points to move ahead 14-10 following an LSU attack error. But the Tigers battled back and went ahead by two at 19-17 after a kill by setter Daniela Romero. Florida answered with the next two points on a kill from Bowers and a tandem block from Bowers and McGinnis. The Tigers went in front at 20-19 and 21-20 before a kill from Johnson ignited a 3-0 run that saw UF move in front at 23-21 after Killingsworth recorded a kill. LSU came within one at 23-22 and 24-23, but the Gators notched four straight points to move in front 28-23 before the game ended with a kill from Hampton. Bowers and Hampton led UF with four kills each as the Gators out-hit LSU .289-.128. Cusack led all players with seven digs in the game.

 

The Tigers led by four points midway though the second game before a 7-3 Gator run propelled Florida to the lead in a 30-22 win. Things were tight early on until the Tigers put together a 5-0 run to move in front 12-8. LSU eventually led 15-11 before the Gators put seven of the next 10 points on the scoreboard and pulled even with the Tigers at 18-18 after a kill from McCray. LSU scored the next point to retake the advantage at 19-18, but Florida scored four straight to move in front 22-19 after a Johnson kill. The Gators were ahead 23-21 before recording five straight points behind the serve of senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) as UF moved in front 28-21 before the game ended with an LSU attack error. McCray tied for game-high honors with eight kills on .467 hitting as UF out-hit LSU .340-.200. Cusack paced all players with six digs in the game.

 

The Gators started strong in scoring eight of the first 12 points to open the third game and cruised from there in a 30-22 victory. Cusack helped pace UF in the opening stages with her serve, while four different Gators notched kills as Florida went on top 8-4. LSU cut the lead down to three at 10-7, but Florida answered with four consecutive points to move in front 14-7 after a Tiger attack error. LSU came as close as six points the rest of the way at 16-10, but Florida scored seven of the next 10 points in building a 23-13 advantage that the Tigers couldn’t overcome before the match ended with a kill from Hampton. The Gators out-hit LSU .275-.065 in the game with Hampton leading UF with five kills on .500 hitting and Cusack adding a game-high 10 digs.

 

Florida returns to action next weekend when the Gators host South Carolina at 8 p.m. (ET) on Friday and Georgia at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. The Georgia match can be seen live on Sun Sports, while the South Carolina match can be seen via GatorVision Online. Both will be broadcast on WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.

 

 

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