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Freshman Lauren Bledsoe hit .571 in UF's sweep of N.C. State.

Friday August 31, 2007VB Hits Better Than .400 In 3-0 Sweep of N.C. State

Gainesville, FL

Freshman Lauren Bledsoe hit .571 in UF's sweep of N.C. State.

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) and freshman opposite hitter Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) notched nine kills apiece to lead a University of Florida attack that hit .420 en route to sweeping North Carolina State, 3-0 (30-15, 30-14, 30-21), on Friday night in front of 2,303 people at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

The seventh-ranked Gators’ .420 hitting percentage was its best since registering a .429 mark against Florida A&M in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Championship, and included season single-game high .600 clip in the second frame. Six Florida players hit better than .400 individually in the victory.

 

Florida’s nine service aces were also a season best. Redshirt freshman outside hitter Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) led UF behind the service line with a trio of aces on the night, establishing a new career high. The Gators also limited N.C. State to a .029 efficiency mark, while out-digging the Wolfpack, 40-27. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) led all players with 16 digs on the night.

 

“Any time you a play a match and you’re getting kills from everyone but your defensive specialists, that means you’re offense is clicking,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Credit our hitters and setters, but Elyse Cusack deserves a lot of credit because she has been so constantly good for us in the back row. This was also a great experience for our younger players because you can’t simulate playing in front a crowd this size during practice.”

 

UF got off to a lightning-quick start in game one, as Bledsoe and Hampton both picked up kills to aid in a 4-1 run to open the match. The duo combined for seven of the Gators’ first eight kills, driving the Orange and Blue to a 15-5 lead midway through the stanza. Senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) tallied her first kill of the night minutes later to make the score 19-9 and Hampton followed with consecutive kills to put the Gators up a dozen points. UF reached the 25-point mark in the game when Hampton fired an ace, and a kill by senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) gave the home team a 15-point edge at 26-11. The Gators hit an outstanding .517, earning 18 kills on 39 attempts, in the game, wrapping it up by a score of 30-15 when senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) hammered a ball into open space down the right line.

 

Game two started in a similar fashion as the opening frame, as a Bledsoe kill and an ace from Killingsworth sparked a 4-1 run at the outset. After the Wolfpack battled back to tie the score at 4-4, Florida took the next three points on the strength of a kill by McCray and Bledsoe’s second ace of the season. The Gators opened up a 15-9 lead at the halfway point by way of a Killingsworth kill, and the lead reached 10, 20-10, on a double block by McCray and sophomore middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.). The Wolfpack were forced to call a timeout after sophomore setter Alli Cecchini (Brentwood, Calif.) made the score 24-11 with her first ace of the season, and UF closed out the game on a 6-2 run to head into the locker room with a 30-14 game-two win. Florida’s .600 efficiency rate in game two outdid its game-one effort, as Bledsoe and McCray each recorded three kills on as many swings to lead the charge.

 

Game three was tightly contested at the beginning, but the Gators managed to open up an 8-5 lead on a kill by freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.). The margin stretched to 13-8 after an ace by freshman libero/defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.), but NCSU climbed back within three after taking back-to-back points. UF recovered to collect the consecutive points on several Wolfpack miscues, and ran out to a 19-13 lead on the strength of a kill and two aces from Williams. With the score 24-20, UF ripped off six of the next seven points to wrap up the match, 30-21.

 

Florida will return to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday, when it meets No. 19 Santa Clara in its first tilt of the year with a ranked opponent. Fans with a ticket stub from the Florida football team’s season opener will receive free admission. The match can be heard on www.GatorZone.com.

 

Match Three: Santa Clara 3, Georgia Southern 0

Nineteenth-ranked Santa Clara (5-0) swept Georgia Southern (2-4) in the 5 p.m. match to pick up its second win of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational.

 

Lindsy Evans, Alex Scoffone and Nina Sevastopoulos each had a match-high 11 kills for the Broncos, while Caroline Walters led all players with 18 digs. Gorana Bacic had seven kills to lead Georgia Southern.

 

 

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