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Sunday September 23, 2007No. 6 VB Defeats No. 22 LSU, 3-1, Behind Hampton's Double-Double

Baton Rouge, LA

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded 20 kills and 10 digs to lead the sixth-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-1 (30-25, 30-24, 27-30, 30-24) win over No. 22 LSU on Sunday. The double-double was Hampton’s six of the season, and the 33rd of her career.

 

The victory was the Gators’ ninth-straight in Baton Rouge, and their 22nd in a row over LSU. Florida (11-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) have now won 11-straight matches to open the season, marking the third-best start in school history.

 

“This was the definition of a hard-fought win,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We earned everything we got today, and I’m extremely proud of our players.”

 

Senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) added 14 kills on the day to become just the 15th player in school history to reach the 1,000-career kill mark. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) tallied a season-high 27 digs digs, marking the 11th match of her career with at least 20, while freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) posted a career-best 10 digs to go along with nine kills.

 

Senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) got the Gators rolling game one, killing two balls and teaming with junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) on a block to help open up a 3-0 lead. McCray’s third kill of the afternoon increased the margin to 6-2, but LSU fought back to take an 11-10 lead before a service ace by senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) and a pair of McCray kills sparked a 5-1 run that sent UF into the media timeout with a 15-12 edge. Florida scored two quick points after the stoppage, one on a McCray kill, to take a 17-12 lead, but LSU once again came back to grab the lead, 20-19. Killingsworth immediately tied the frame at 20-20 with the 1,000th kill of her career, and the Gators battled back to take a 24-22 lead, forcing LSU to call its first timeout of the match. UF took two of the first three points after the timeout, opening up a 26-23 cushion, and double blocks by the combos of Killingsworth and freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) and Killingsworth and senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) extended the lead to 28-24 and prompted another LSU timeout. A kill by Rivers forced game point at 29-25, and a Tiger attack error wrapped up the opening game for Florida on the next rally. McCray led the Gators with eight kills in the frame, matching the single-game high for a UF player this season.

 

UF found itself down 5-2 early in the second game, but kills by Killingsworth and Hampton brought the Gators back within one, 5-4. LSU responded with a 3-0 run to take an 8-4 lead, but the Orange and Blue roared back to take a 10-9 lead on a Bowers solo block, and McCray followed with a solo rejection of her own to make the score 11-9 and force an LSU timeout. The Tigers scored four-straight points after the pause, causing Wise to ask for a timeout with the score 13-11 in favor of the hosts. UF came back yet again behind kills from Hampton, Rivers and McCray, tying the score at 14-14 and taking a 15-14 advantage on the next rally courtesy of an LSU attack error. Another Rivers kill sparked UF to a 19-16 lead, and Hampton registered back-to-back kills to spur the Gators to a 21-17 edge, its largest of the game to that point, and force another LSU timeout. Bowers and McGinnis teamed up for a double block on the first exchange after the stoppage, and Hampton again recorded consecutive kills to widen the margin. Florida’s lead reached seven on four occasions down the stretch, and Killingsworth sealed the game-two win, 30-24, with her eighth kill of the afternoon. Hampton led all players with seven kills in the game as the Gators hit .405 in the game, and Cusack chipped in with 10 digs in the frame.

 

Bowers and McCray both tallied kills in the early-going of game three, sandwiching them around their own double block, to help UF open up a 3-1 lead, but LSU came back to level the match at 5-5. The teams traded points until consecutive kills and a block by Bowers gave the Gators a 10-7 lead. The Tigers fought back to take an 11-10 edge, but a service error on the home team and a Hampton kill swung the score back in UF’s favor, 12-11. The tally leveled out again at 16-16, but a service error and a net violation on LSU preceded an ace by freshman defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) to give UF a 19-16 lead. LSU came back to assume a 25-22 advantage, but a Bowers kill ignited a 3-0 UF run that tied the score and prompted the Tigers to call their first timeout of the stanza. The hosts scored three-consecutive points after the break to take a 28-25 lead, but the Gators fought to within one at 28-27, but LSU reeled off back-to-back points to take game three, 30-27.

 

Down 3-1 early in game four, the Gators rallied to take a 5-4 lead behind a pair of kills from Killingsworth. LSU battled back to take an 11-7 lead and force a UF timeout, and continued to increase its lead until the Gators found themselves down 15-7. Florida cut the deficit to 18-17 on kills by Rivers, McCray, Killingsworth and Hampton, but LSU ran out to a four-point lead, 21-17, as play continued. UF came storming back with four-straight points, the last two coming on Hampton kills, to tie the score at 21-21 and force an LSU timeout. The Tigers took the next three points, but the Gators refused to quit, tying the match at 24-24 on a double block by McGinnis and Bowers. Hampton ricocheted a kill off hands on the next rally to give UF a 25-24 lead, and the edge continued to increase with Killingsworth on serve. Hampton forced match point with a roll shot down the left line, and then sealed the match with a cross-court rocket to give the Gators a 30-24 win.

 

UF will return to action on Friday, Sept. 28, when it visits Mississippi State for an 8 p.m. EST tilt. Radio coverage of the action can be heard on Rock 104, as well as www.GatorZone.com.   

 

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