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Wednesday November 8, 2006Hampton Collects 18 Kills As VB Sweeps Mississippi To Come Within One Win of SEC Title

GAINESVILLE, Fla.

Junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.)  recorded 18 kills on .385 hitting as the seventh-ranked University of Florida volleyball team won its 15th straight match by beating Mississippi 3-0 (30-15, 30-16, 30-24) before a crowd of 1,497 on Wednesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Florida (23-2 overall, 16-1 Southeastern Conference) moved within one victory of clinching at least a share of what would be its 16th consecutive SEC title with the Gators needing only two wins to claim the title outright. The victory was the 24th straight in the series against the Rebels (16-12, 7-10), who entered the contest having won four of their last six matches. The Gators ended the match with more kills (58-34), digs (64-52) and blocks (12.5-0.0), while out-hitting Mississippi .395-.085.

 

“It’s a pretty good feeling to know that we control our own destiny in the SEC,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “We were thrilled to be back home after our four-match road trip. Our attendance and the fans were great tonight for this time of the year. Marcie and Stefanie both played well for us tonight and were big factors in the win.”

 

Freshman Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) picked up 16 digs and moved into eighth place in Florida history for single season digs with 395. Senior opposite hitter Stefanie Douglas (Belton, Texas) came off the bench to reach double figures in digs for the fourth time in her career with 10 kills, while adding a career best six total blocks. Junior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) guided the Gators to a .395 hitting percentage and racked up 49 assists, eight digs, six kills and four blocks. Junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) picked up 11 kills on .296 hitting to finish in double figures for the eighth consecutive match.

 

Freshman middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) also fared well for the Gators with eight kills and five blocks, while senior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) chipped in with 11 digs.

 

The Gators used an 8-1 run in the early stages of the opening frame before cruising to a 30-15 win. The match got off to a good start for the Gators after Mississippi recorded the first point, UF answered with a 4-0 run as sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) picked up three straight kills followed by a block from McGinnis and Bowers to put the Gators ahead 4-1. The Rebels cut Florida’s advantage down to a pair at 7-5, but the Gators responded with seven of the next eight points to surge out in front 14-6. Douglas had a hand in a pair of blocks and two collected two kills in the run, while Hampton tallied two kills. After a Mississippi point, the Gator put four of the next five on the scoreboard to open up an 18-8 lead following a Killingsworth kill from the left side. The Rebels never came closer than nine the rest of the way before Killingsworth closed out the game with a kill from the left side. The Gators hit .395 to just .040 for Mississippi with Hampton leading all players with six kills on .385 hitting, while also adding a solo block and a block assist. Cusack paced all players with nine digs in the game. The Gators also blocked well in the game in finishing with 5.5 total blocks.

 

UF started the game well by scoring four of the first five points with McGinnis and Bowers combining for a block and Killingsworth and Johnson coming together for another in the stretch. Florida went up by as many as five at 12-7 after a Rebel error and 15-10 after a kill from the right side by Douglas before a tandem block from Johnson and Douglas forced Mississippi to use their first timeout with the Gators on top by six at 16-10. The stoppage in play didn’t matter as Hampton collected a kill from the left side followed by a Mississippi attack error to put the Gators on top 18-10. The Rebels answered with two straight to close the gap to six at 18-12, but Florida came back with four consecutive points to build a 22-12 advantage. Mississippi then used its last timeout, but it didn’t matter as the Gators scored three more after the break before the game ended with a Rebel attack error. Hampton again led all players with six kills on .417 hitting as the Gators out-hit Mississippi .433 to -.054. Douglas chimed in with four kills on .800 hitting with Davis leading UF with four digs. The Gators collected 5.0 blocks in the game with Douglas and Johnson each collecting three block assists.

 

The final game was the closest, but the Gators used a late 5-1 run to gain enough separation in a 30-24 win. The Rebels came to play in the opening stages and used a 3-0 run to tie things up at 8-8 early on. Florida answered with three-straight points on a pair of Hampton kills and a Killingsworth kill from the left side to move ahead 11-8. After a Mississippi kill, Bowers put a ball down and then recorded an ace, which was followed by a Rebel attack error as the Gators found themselves up 14-9. Mississippi scored a point after taking a timeout, but the Gators rattled off three of the next four to build their advantage to six at 17-11 after a kill from Johnson. The Rebels came as close as four at 19-15, but Florida put five of the next six points on the scoreboard to move in front 24-16 on a Killingsworth kill. The Rebels never threatened the rest of the way before the match ended with another Killingsworth kill. The Gators out-hit Mississippi .373-.256 in the game with Hampton leading UF with six kills as Killingsworth and Johnson both collected five. Freshman defensive specialist Alli Cecchini (Brentwood, Calif.) led all players with eight digs.

 

Florida returns to action on Sunday when the Gators host Mississippi State at 1 p.m. at the O’Connell Center. If Florida’s soccer team advances to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the contest will be carried on Rock 104. If the soccer team fails to advance, the volleyball team’s match will air on WRUF-Am 850. Either way, it will also be carried on www.GatorZone.com and via GatorVision Online.

 

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