Senior outside hitter Marcie
Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) posted a match-high 13 kills to
lead the sixth-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-11,
30-20, 30-23) win over Mississippi on Friday night.
The win boosted the Gators’ record to 10-0 (3-0 Southeastern
Conference), which matches the third-best start in school history.
UF’s defense tallied 10.0 total blocks, led by four each from senior
middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth
(Deltona, Fla.) and junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville,
Fla.), held the Rebels to a
-.025 hitting percentage, marking the first time this season the Gators have
held a team below .000. The effort also represented the fifth-consecutive match
that the Orange
and Blue averaged 3.0 blocks per game as a team.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The atmosphere here is great, and it’s a tough
place to come in and play, let alone win. We were physical at the net, and we
didn’t let Mississippi
have anything they didn’t earn.”
The Gators, who entered the match with an SEC-leading .300 hitting
percentage, hit .308 on the night.
Hampton added nine digs and a pair of blocks, while
Killingsworth chipped in with eight kills on .353 hitting. Sophomore
libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack
led all players with 15 digs, and senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser,
Mich.) tallied a match-high
35 assists to go along with five kills. Freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.)
helped out with four kills, her most since Aug. 31.
The Gators jumped out to a 6-1 lead to open the match behind a trio of
kills from Killingsworth and one by Hampton.
Mississippi fought back to narrow the lead to 6-5, but a Hampton kill and a
Killingsworth ace sparked a 4-0 UF run that prompted UM head coach Joe Getzin
to call his first timeout of the night. Bowers recorded her first kill of the
night after the break, and Killingsworth added another ace to make the score
13-5 and extend the run to 8-0 before it was broken. The Florida
lead reached 18-8 on a double block by Bowers and senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview,
Texas), and Bowers teamed with redshirt
freshman outside hitter Janine Williams
(Gainesville, Fla.) for another block on the next
point, pushing the margin to 19-8 and prompting another Rebel timeout. Cusack
chipped in with an ace on her first serve of the game to increase Florida’s
lead to 22-10, and two more successful attacks from Killingsworth and an ace
off the hand of Rivers helped run the lead to 29-11, and a UM error on the next
rally capped the game for UF. Florida
registered four team blocks in the frame, holding Ole Miss to -.189 hitting.
Killingsworth led all players with five kills in the opening frame.
UF fell behind 8-3 early in game two, but kills by McCray and Bowers
ignited a Gator charge that saw them take a 10-9 lead on a UM attack error. A
kill by Hampton gave UF a 13-12 advantage in the
see-saw affair, and spurred on a short run that gave the Orange and Blue a 15-12 lead after a kill by McGinnis.
UF hit the 20-point mark with a 20-17 lead courtesy of a McCray kill, and
increased its lead to five for the first time in the game, 23-18, on a kill
down the left line by Rivers. McGinnis and Killingsworth teamed up for a block
assist minutes later to make the score 25-18 in Florida’s favor, forcing Getzin to yet again
ask for a timeout. The Gators concluded the game on an 8-2 run, culminating in
a McGinnis kill, to win the frame, 30-20, and assume a 2-0 lead in the match. Hampton had five kills in
the game, to increase her match total to nine at the break, as UF hit .349 as a
Hampton notched her 10th kill of the night early in the
third game, helping UF take three of the stanza’s first four points. After UM
narrowed the gap to 6-4, Bowers and McCray turned in back-to-back kills to
re-extend the margin to four points. Mississippi,
however, battled back to within one before Bowers scored a kill off hands and
posted a solo block to propel the Gators to a 12-7 lead and force a Rebel
came firing out of the stoppage, as Rivers and McCray both recorded kills to
extend the cushion to 14-8. Rivers ripped her second ace of the match to make
the score 20-12, and Killingsworth caused UM to call another timeout with a
kill that made the tally 22-12 in UF’s favor. The Rebels brought the margin
down to six, 29-23, late in the game, but a Mississippi ace fell long to seal the match
for the Gators, 3-0.
The Gators will return to action again on Sunday when they square off
with No. 22 LSU at 2 p.m. EST in Baton
Rouge. The match will be televised by Cox Sports
Television (channel 67 in Gainesville),
and Rock 104 will carry the radio broadcast locally. Audio coverage of the
match can also be heard at www.GatorZone.com.
- UF –