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Wednesday October 10, 2007Hampton Paces No. 5 VB To Sweep Of South Carolina

Gainesville, FL

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) tallied 16 kills on a career-best .714 hitting on Wednesday night to lead the fifth-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-17, 30-18, 30-19) win over South Carolina at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

The Gators’ victory moved their record to 16-0 (9-0 Southeastern Conference), tying them with the 1987 squad for the second-best start in school history. Florida has never lost a midweek SEC match with head coach Mary Wise at the helm.

 

With her 16 kills, Hampton passed former Gator All-American Nicole McCray for sixth on the UF career chart with 1,575 as a collegian. She also added five digs and three total blocks in the effort.

 

Florida hit .384 as a team on Wednesday, marking the third-consecutive match that the Gators have posted a hitting percentage above .375. Freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) contributed nine kills on .471 hitting, while senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) chipped in with six. Senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) guided UF to that hitting mark with a match-high 36 assists.

 

“We are certainly a better team than we were a month ago, and I’m extremely proud of the effort that the players have put forth in both games and practices,” Wise said. “We excelled in all of the effort stats tonight, and that was a key to the win.”

 

The Gators totaled 47 digs, led by 16 from sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.), to outdistance themselves from the Gamecocks by 17. UF also recorded eight total blocks on the night, compared to just six by USC.

 

The Gators jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in game one thanks to a pair of kills by McGinnis, whose efforts sparked a 9-3 run to open the match. South Carolina called its first timeout after Hampton ripped her second kill of the night to put Florida up 10-4, as the Gators connected on their first six swings before the stoppage. An ace by freshman defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) increased UF’s edge to 14-6 just minutes later, and the lead reached double figures, 20-10, when redshirt freshman outside hitter Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) pounded home a set from Hampton, who set the ball from behind the hitter. The Gators’ lead didn’t dip below nine for the remainder of the game, as Hampton posted three kills and a block solo down the stretch, and sophomore middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) terminated an overpass to finish off the frame, 30-17. Hampton’s seven kills led all players in the opener, and she hit .875 to pace a UF attack that turned in a .630 mark in game one.

 

Hampton picked up in game two right where she left off in the opening stanza, collecting two kills and a block assist in UF’s game-opening 8-2, during which McGinnis also had a hand in a pair of blocks. The Gamecocks were forced to use their first timeout of the second game after Johnson ripped back-to-back kills to increase the advantage to 11-5. Kills by senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) and Winters, along with Fleming’s second ace of the match, ignited a 8-1 run that saw UF take a 21-9 lead and force USC’s second timeout of the frame. Florida maintained a double-figure lead for the rest of the second game, and junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) closed it out, 30-18, with her first kill of the evening. Rivers led all players with four kills in the game, and Cusack came up with eight digs to help hold the Gamecocks to a .000 hitting percentage in the game.

 

Florida took its first lead of game three at 3-2, then proceeded to take the next five points to increase its cushion to 8-2 and prompt USC to call its first timeout of the game. Hampton recorded kills on the first two rallies after the pause, and the Gators’ lead eventually grew to double digits at 15-5 on Rivers’ fifth kill of the night. South Carolina pulled within as few as seven, but kills by Hampton, Rivers and freshman opposite hitter Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) down the stretch sealed the deal, and the Gators took game three and the match by a score of 30-19. Hampton tallied six kills in the decisive game, as UF hit .393 as a team.

 

UF will have a quick turn around before returning to action on Friday night, as they visit Arkansas for an 8 p.m. ET showdown. Sun Sports will once again broadcast the action live, and radio coverage of the match can be heard on Rock 104, as well as www.GatorZone.com.

 

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