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Amber McCray led all players with 20 kills

Sunday November 5, 2006McCray Tallies 20 Kills As No. 7 VB Wins 14th Straight Match 3-1 Over Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.

Amber McCray led all players with 20 kills

Junior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) picked up 20 kills on .543 hitting as the seventh-ranked University of Florida volleyball team won its 14th consecutive match by snapping Arkansas’ five-match winning streak in a 3-1 (30-24, 30-26, 28-30, 30-16) victory on Sunday afternoon at Barnhill Arena.

 

Florida (22-2 overall, 15-1 Southeastern Conference) won its 17th consecutive match against Arkansas and moved to 8-0 all-time in Fayetteville with the victory. The Gators also moved closer to a 16th straight SEC title as UF’s magic number to clinch at least a share of the crown is now two with four matches left to play. The Gators finished with more kills (80-63) and digs (85-52), while out-hitting the Lady Backs (15-9, 8-8) .359-.203.

 

“I can’t say enough good things about our team today,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “These players really battled out there, especially when the Arkansas crowd was really into it. We had production from a lot of different players and for us to beat good teams on the road, we’ve got to get production from everyone and that happened today.”

 

Florida out-hit its opponent for the 14th consecutive match and claimed its 76th straight win against teams from the SEC Western Division.

 

A pair of notable records concerning digs came to fruition for the Gators during the match. Junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) surpassed a career milestone in becoming the ninth and fastest player in school history to reach 1,000 career digs as she recorded nine and now has 1,001 in her career. Freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) – fresh off a 46-dig effort on Friday at No. 11 LSU – broke Hampton’s school record for most digs by a freshman by collecting 25 to break the old mark of 354.

 

Florida displayed a diversified offense against Arkansas as five different players finished in double figures in kills led by McCray. Hampton also added 18 kills on .294 hitting with junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) finishing with 13 kills, sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) with 12 and freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) with 10. Junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) wasn’t far away with seven kills on .500 hitting, while she also collected 64 assists and nine digs. Her assist total was just two shy of her career best.

 

Senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) helped the Gator back row defense by tying her season best with 18 digs, while sophomore defensive specialist Christina Diaz (Hollywood, Fla.) adding a career best 12 digs.

 

Florida used a 6-3 run in the latter stages of the first game to record a 30-24 win. UF opened the match well by scoring five of the first seven points with Cusack and sophomore defensive specialist Diaz each picking up an ace in the run. After Arkansas put a pair of points on the scoreboard, the Gators tallied six of the next eight to move out in front 11-6 following a kill from the right side by McCray. Arkansas cut the Gator lead down to 11-9 with three consecutive points before Florida answered with four of the next six to move back in front by four at 15-11 after another McCray kill. The Lady Backs again fought back with three points to narrow the gap to one at 15-14 , but Florida responded with the next three on an Arkansas ball handling error, a Bowers kill and an ace from Hampton. The Lady Backs came as close as two at 18-16, but the Gators scored six of the next nine points to build a 24-19 advantage following a kill from Hampton on the left side. Arkansas came within four at 25-21, but the Gators eventually closed out the game on a McCray angle kill from the right side. The Gators out-hit Arkansas .318-.280 in the game with McCray pacing UF with six kills on .462 hitting and McGinnis leading all players with six digs.

 

The Gators used a late 4-0 run to give themselves enough separation to win game two 30-26. Florida got off to another strong start by tallying five of the first six points before going on to build an early five-point lead after a tandem block from Johnson and McGinnis put UF up 9-4. Arkansas gradually earned back points and came within a pair at 13-11 to force the Gators to use their first timeout. After the break, the Lady Backs added two more points to tie the game at 13-13. The teams then sided out until the Gators strung together three points on a Johnson kill down the middle and a pair of Hampton kills to go on top 19-16 and force the Lady Backs to call their first timeout. UF added another point before Arkansas notched the next three points to come within a point at 20-19. Florida answered with a 4-0 run in which McCray, Bowers and Hampton all recorded kills as the Gators went back in front 24-19. Arkansas didn’t go away and eventually closed the gap to a pair at 28-26, but Florida ended the game with kills from Johnson and a kill from Killingsworth off the block. The Gators out-hit Arkansas .429-.209 in the game with Killingsworth leading all players with seven kills on .600 hitting. Cusack also led all players with six digs.

   

Arkansas used a critical 4-0 run late in the third game before fending off a late Gator rally as the Lady Backs won 30-28. UF again started well by getting out to a 4-2 advantage after a kill by Bowers. The Gators went up by as many as three in the early stages at 10-7 after a ball handling error on the Lady Backs before Arkansas pulled within one at 11-10. Florida scored three of the next four to earn a three-point advantage at 14-11, but the Lady Backs had plenty of fight left in them and tied the game at 16-16. Arkansas took its first lead of the match at 18-17 to force the Gators to use their first timeout. Out of the break, Florida tied things up on a kill by McCray from the right side. Arkansas moved back in front 19-18 before the Gators scored two straight on a Hampton kill and a Lady Back error to move ahead 20-19. Arkansas tied the game at 20-20 before Hampton collected another kill to give UF a 21-20 advantage. Arkansas stormed back with four consecutive points to open up a 24-21 lead and force the Gators to use their final timeout. McGinnis ended the run with a solo block to cut the deficit to a pair at 24-22. The Lady Backs notched the next two before McGinnis recorded a kill to make it 26-23 in favor of Arkansas. After another UA point, McCray collected back-to-back kills to narrow the gap to 27-25 as the Lady Backs took their first timeout. Arkansas answered with the next two points to set up game point at 29-25. Florida fended off the first with a Hampton kill from the left side before Hampton again bought the Gators another point with a kill to make it 29-27. With Cusack serving, Hampton notched her third straight kill to make it 29-28, but Arkansas closed out the game with a kill down the line from Kele Brewer on the next point. Arkansas out-hit the Gators .264-.222 in the game and recorded 4.5 blocks to 2.0 for Florida. Hampton led UF with seven kills on .286 hitting in the game with McCray adding six kills on .417 hitting. Cusack led all players with 11 digs.

 

Florida used a 9-0 run in the opening stages of the fourth game before cruising to a 30-16 win. The teams duked it out to a 5-5 tie in the opening stages of the game before the Gators put together a 9-0 run to move on top 14-5. Hampton had a pair of kills in the run to pace UF, while Davis provided solid serving with the Gators being aided by four Arkansas errors in the stretch. After the Lady Backs ended the run with a kill, Florida scored four more to move in front 18-6 and put the game out of reach. The match ended when Bowers put down a ball on a slide play. The Gators out-hit Arkansas .593 – a season-best – to .203.

 

Florida returns home after its four-match road swing by hosting Mississippi on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. (ET) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center before welcoming Mississippi State on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. Both matches will be carried on WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com, while both can also be seen via GatorVision Online.

 

 

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