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