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Friday October 20, 2006McCray Nabs 12 Kills As No. 7 VB Sweeps South Carolina


Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) recorded a team-high 12 kills on .450 hitting as the No. 7 University of Florida volleyball team swept South Carolina (30-27, 30-27, 30-28) before a crowd of 2,005 fans on Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.


Florida (17-2 overall, 10-1 Southeastern Conference) remained in first place in the SEC standings with the victory in moving to 16-0 against the Gamecocks (11-11, 4-7) at home in the Mary Wise era. The Gators won 17 of their first 19 matches on the year for the sixth consecutive season and extended their winning streak to nine straight matches. The Gators out-hit South Carolina .225-.137 and finished with more kills (54-37) and digs (46-39).


“I didn’t think South Carolina was a team we were going to blow out and we made some uncharacteristic unforced errors and were lucky to win in three,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “You have some nights when you’re not firing on all cylinders and if you can grind out a win – that’s great. We were fortunate to have Amber McCray and South Carolina had a tough time defending her.”


Florida held South Carolina’s Shonda Cole – No. 2 in the nation in kills per game – to just 14 kills on .132 hitting – her third-worst performances of the year in both categories.


Freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) recorded a match-high 18 digs for the Gators, while junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) helped lead a balanced Gator attack in which five players recorded eight kills or more as she chimed in with 10. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) picked up nine kills on .467 hitting, while junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) collected nine kills and eight digs. Junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) was near a triple-double with 41 assists, nine digs and six kills.


The opening game was a tight one with the Gators needing a late 4-0 to gain enough separation in a 30-27 win. Florida took charge early with the Gators opening up a four point advantage after a kill from Bowers on a slide play put UF on top 12-8. South Carolina fought back and cut Florida’s lead to one at 16-15 before the Gators scored four of the next five points to move back in front by four at 20-16. McCray had a kill in the run with freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) collecting a pair of block assists. South Carolina again battled back and came within one point at 21-20 before Florida tallied four straight to extend the advantage to five at 25-20 with Hampton recording a pair of kills in the stretch. The Gamecocks came as close as two at 26-24, 28-26 and 29-27, but the game ended when McCray slammed down a kill from the right side. Neither team hit well in the game with UF leading South Carolina .184-.139. Hampton and McCray paced UF with four kills each.


The second game was close throughout with Florida using a late 4-0 run to take the lead and squeak out a 30-27 win. Neither team led by more than four points in the game with South Carolina going on a 5-0 run to take such a lead at 18-14. Florida regained the advantage by scoring nine of the next 13 points. McCray led the charge offensively with three kills in the run with Bowers adding a kill and Hampton ending the run with a solo block of South Carolina’s Shonda Cole to give UF a 23-22 advantage. The Gamecocks had plenty of fight left and notched four of the next five points to move back in front 26-24. Following Florida’s last timeout, the Gators sided out on a Killingsworth kill from the left side. Bowers then provided strong serving with Killingsworth knocking down the next two points with kills before McGinnis dumped a ball over the net to give the Gators a 28-26 lead. The Gamecocks answered with a kill before Johnson notched a kill down the middle followed by a McGinnis ace to end the game. The Gators out-hit South Carolina .310-.162 in the game with McCray leading all players with five kills on .714 hitting in the game. Cusack paced all players with eight digs in the game.


The Gators scored the first six points and 10 of the opening 11 before fending off a late South Carolina rally in the final game in a 30-28 win. With senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) holding serve, Florida raced out to a 6-0 advantage with three different players recording kills in the stretch. After a South Carolina point, the Gators put four more on the scoreboard courtesy of three Gamecock errors and an ace from Cusack. The Gators eventually went on top 26-18 following a McGinnis kill before the Gamecocks stormed back with eight consecutive points before Killingsworth ended the run with a kill down the middle to give UF a 27-26 lead. Hampton followed suit with a kill from the left side before Cole answered with a kill to make it 28-27 in favor of Florida. Johnson answered for the Gators by putting a ball down the middle of the court, but South Carolina came back with a kill to make it 29-28 before McCray ended the match with a kill down the middle. Florida out-hit the Gamecocks .200-.140 in the game with McGinnis, Johnson and Killingsworth tying for the team lead with four kills each. Cusack finished with a game-high eight digs, while McGinnis added six.


Florida returns to action on Sunday when the Gators face Georgia in a 1:30 p.m. Sun Sports televised match at the O’Connell Center. The first 1,000 fans will receive a free t-shirt. The contest will also air on WRUF-AM 850 and



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