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Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton recorded her fourth-career match with at least 20 kills.

Sunday August 26, 2007Hampton's Double-Double Leads No. 7 VB To 3-1 Win Over Notre Dame

South Bend, IN

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton recorded her fourth-career match with at least 20 kills.

University of Florida senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) posted her second-consecutive double-double to open the 2007 season on Sunday night, recording 20 kills and 16 digs to lead the seventh-ranked Gators to a 3-1 (30-25, 30-24, 30-32, 30-23) win over Notre Dame at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind.

 

The victory completed the Gators’ first sweep of a season-opening road trip since 1991, and gave them consecutive wins to open a season for the fourth year in a row. Florida piled up seven service aces for the second match in a row while limiting Notre Dame to just two, and held narrow advantages in the dig (71-70) and hitting percentage (.237-.231) departments.

 

“I thought this was a great volleyball match, and I was very impressed with the way Notre Dame played,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Our middles were very good for us tonight, and Marcie came up big for us late in the match. We’re still working on our blocking and passing, and we couldn’t have won this match without the leadership of our four seniors.”

 

Hampton’s 20 kills came on .278 hitting, as she committed only five errors in 54 attempts. The effort marked her fourth-consecutive double-double, dating back to last year’s NCAA Championship second-round match against Arizona State, as well as her fourth-career match with at least 20 kills. Senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) led all participants with 59 assists on the evening and totaled 13 digs to record the 25th double-double of her career. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) paced the field with 25 digs, while McGinnis and redshirt sophomore middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) tied for team-high honors with four total blocks apiece. Senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) chipped in with 16 kills on .314 hitting, while Johnson and redshirt freshman outside hitter Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded nine and eight kills, respectively.

 

Game one was tightly contested early, as neither team opened as much as a two-point lead until the Irish took an 8-6 advantage on a UF attack error. Florida captured the next four points to take a 10-8 lead after a kill by Johnson. McCray recorded consecutive kills for the Gators, but Notre Dame stormed back to tie the game at 12-12. UF came right back, as block assists by McGinnis and Killingsworth sandwiched redshirt Williams’ first-career service ace to give the Orange and Blue a 15-12 advantage and force a Notre Dame timeout. The UF lead reached four, 18-14, after a kill by Hampton and the Gators maintained that edge until UND called a timeout with the tally at 22-18. A long rally ensued after the timeout, culminating in a Hampton kill that gave UF a five-point advantage, and the teams traded points until Johnson’s third kill of the game prompted Notre Dame to call its final timeout of the game with the scoreboard reading 27-22. An Irish error after the break pushed the lead to 28-22, but Notre Dame took consecutive points to narrow their deficit to four before a UND error and McCray’s game-leading fifth kill closed out the first frame for UF by a score of 30-25. Hampton also tallied five kills in the opening frame, while adding a half-dozen digs.

 

A 7-2 Florida run, featuring an ace by McGinnis and kills from McCray and Williams, got UF off and running in game two and forced Notre Dame head coach Debbie Brown to call an early timeout. McCray came out of the timeout firing, collecting the Gators’ next two kills before an Irish error and a Killingsworth kill gave UF a seven-point cushion at 11-4. Florida’s lead grew as large as eight several times during the game, and the Gators didn’t let their hosts get any closer than six before the Irish called a timeout with the score at 20-12. Freshman libero/defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) registered the first ace of her career following the pause to push Florida’s lead to nine, 21-12, and the Irish were able to get within less than a half-dozen points just twice, cutting the lead to 29-24 before Williams closed the game with a kill off the Irish block. Williams led the Orange and Blue with four kills in game two as the Gators hit .308 as a team in the frame.

 

Notre Dame took three of the first four points in game three, but a Hampton kill, and ace by McGinnis and a roll shot by McCray brought the Gators back to a 4-3 lead early in the stanza. Hampton’s ninth and 10th kills of the night gave UF a 10-7 edge, and her 11th followed a Notre Dame point to make the score 11-8 in Florida’s favor. With the Gators up 16-11 after a media timeout, Notre Dame ripped off a three-point run to get within two and then forced a UF timeout after battling to within one at 17-16. Killingsworth slammed a kill off the Notre Dame block following the break, but UND took three of the next four points climb back within one. Johnson buried consecutive kills and McCray put on out of bounds off of the Irish block to stretch the margin to 24-21, forcing Notre Dame to call a timeout. A series of Notre Dame miscues extended the UF lead to 27-23, but the Irish battled back yet again to take a 28-27 lead courtesy of a 5-0 run. Killingsworth ended the spurt with a kill that clipped the back line, then forced match point with her first service ace since Sept. 20, 2006. Notre Dame tied the match at 29-29 on the next rally, then came up with a block to take a 30-29 lead and force a game point of their own. Hampton negated the chance with a kill off the block, but UF net violations on consecutive plays gave Notre Dame the game, 32-30. Hampton pounded home six kills in the game to lead the Gators, while Cusack recorded 12 digs to lead all players.

 

Notre Dame jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game four, but the Gators roared back to tie the score on an Irish service error, a Killingsworth kill and ace by Cusack. Florida took a 10-7 lead after kills by Hampton and Johnson served as bookends to an attack error by Notre Dame, but UND came back to tie the game at 10-10 following a 3-0 run of their own. A pair of Notre Dame service errors allowed UF to take a two-point lead at 15-13 before the teams traded the next four points. A Notre Dame error and a kill down the right line by sophomore middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) pushed the score to 19-15, before Hampton opened up a five-point lead with an emphatic kill down the middle of the court. Bowers increased the lead to six, 21-15, after a Notre Dame timeout and a rocket up the left side from Hampton kept it there at 24-18 after a see-saw six-point stretch. With Notre Dame out of timeouts, Florida went on a 4-0 run to open up a 29-21 lead and force match point. After two-straight Notre Dame points, Williams sent off the Irish block to close the game and match, 30-23.

 

Florida will open its home season on Friday, August 31, when it takes on Georgia Southern and N.C. State on the first day of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. UF’s match against the Eagles is slated for 12:30 p.m. and can be heard at www.GatorZone.com, while it’s contest with the Wolfpack will kick off at 7:30 p.m. with the broadcast slated for Rock 104.

 

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