Junior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded an NCAA personal-best
21 kills on .559 hitting in leading No. 7 Florida to its 21st
consecutive win and a spot in the second round of the NCAA Championship after a
sweep of Florida A&M (30-18, 30-16, 30-26) Thursday evening at the Stephen
C. O’Connell Center.
will move on to face Arizona
State (16-14) at 7 p.m.
Friday for a chance to advance to the Gainesville Regional Dec. 8. The Sun
Devils beat the College
of Charleston 3-1 in the
The Gators hit a season-best .429 in the contest –
the second-best hitting percentage for UF in an NCAA match in school history. Florida finished with
more kills (57-41), aces (4-1), digs (48-27) and blocks (12.0-2.0) and out-hit
Florida A&M .429 to .182.
“Those numbers came against one of the best teams
we’ve ever faced in the NCAA first round,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “The Marcie
Hampton-Angie McGinnis combination was lethal tonight and for us to come away
with a 3-0 win against a team of this caliber is indicative of how well we
The Gators moved to 10-0 all-time in NCAA first
round contests and will play in the second round for the 16th time
in as many NCAA appearances in UF history.
McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) set the Gators to their .429
hitting efficiency and recorded 40 assists, four kills, four digs and three
blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Kelsey
Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) picked up 11 kills on .529 hitting
and added five blocks. Senior Stefanie
Douglas (Belton, Texas)
had a match-high seven blocks and added seven kills, while freshman middle
blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.)
had nine kills on .692 hitting and six blocks.
Freshman libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose,
Fla.) picked up a team-high
14 digs and is now just nine shy of becoming the second player in UF history to
reach 500 in a season.
The Gators used a 6-0 run in the opening stages of
the first game before cruising to a 30-18 win. With the score tied 1-1, Douglas
and Bowers combined for a block to ignite a 6-0 Gator run. Freshman defensive
specialist Alli Cecchini (Brentwood,
Calif.) served UF to the next five points and had an ace in the run, while
junior Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) and Hampton
both collected kills in the stretch. The Rattlers narrowed the gap to three at
11-8, but Florida
responded with four consecutive points to move ahead 15-8. Florida A&M
didn’t threaten the rest of the way before the game ended with a Bowers kill.
UF out-hit Florida A&M .484-.111 with Hampton
leading all players with seven kills on .700 hitting. The Gators recorded 5.5
blocks in the game with Douglas paving the way
with four assists. Cusack finished with a game-high five digs.
The second game was close early until the Gators
went on a 9-1 run to break things open before eventually taking the game 30-16.
After the Rattlers came back to tie the game at 3-3, Florida scored eight of
the next nine points as Hampton tallied a pair of kills in the run to pace the
Gators as they went on top 11-4. Florida A&M never came closer than seven
the rest of the way with Florida
eventually closing out the game on a Killingsworth kill from the left side. Florida out-hit Florida A&M .419 to .152 in the game
tying for game-high honors with six kills on .556 hitting. Johnson added five
kills on .714 hitting, while Hampton
led UF with four digs.
The third game was close the entire way until the
Gators tallied six of the final eight points in claiming a 30-26 win. Florida was able to
build an early four-point advantage after an attack error by the Rattlers put
UF in front 12-8. The Rattlers gradually fought back and took the lead at 17-16
after a kill. The Gators answered with the next three on a kill from Douglas, a
tandem block from Hampton and Johnson and an ace from senior defensive
specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas).
Florida A&M didn’t back down and the teams sided out until the Rattlers
notched three of four points to tie the game at 24-24. Douglas and Johnson
again combined for a block on the next point before duplicating the feat on the
next point in boosting the UF advantage to 26-24. After a FAMU timeout, Johnson
picked up a kill followed by a Hampton
kill as the Gators went on top by four at 28-24. The Rattlers called their last
timeout and picked up the next point before a kill from Douglas
set up match point at 29-25. Florida A&M fought off one point, before the
contest ended with a Bowers kill. Hampton
paced UF with eight kills on .467 hitting, while Davis and Cusack each had six
return to action tomorrow when the Gators take on Arizona State
for the right to advance to the Gainesville Regional (Sweet 16) next Friday.
Tomorrow’s match can be seen for free via GatorVision Online and it will be
carried on Rock 104 and www.GatorZone.com.
Arizona State 3, College
of Charleston 1
Staci Smith finished with a match-high 18 kills on
.536 hitting in leading Arizona State to its first NCAA win since 2002 with a 3-1
victory against the College
of Charleston (30-26,
30-23, 29-31, 30-20) in the opening contest of the Gainesville Sub-Regional.
The Sun Devils (16-14) finished with more kills
(70-59) and blocks (11.5-.40), while out-hitting the Cougars (27-8) .292 to
.139. Arizona State libero Sydney Donahue collected 24
digs to break the all-time Pac-10 record with 719 digs on the season.
Tiffany Blum and Deanna Patrick led the College of Charleston with 15 kills each.