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Senior Amber McCray tallied a season-high 20 kills on Friday night.

Friday October 12, 2007VB Falls To Arkansas In Five Games

Fayetteville, AR

Senior Amber McCray tallied a season-high 20 kills on Friday night.

Senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) fired a season-high 20 kills to lead the University of Florida volleyball team on Friday night, but the Gators dropped a five-game decision to Arkansas (29-31, 30-32, 30-20, 30-12, 18-20).

 

UF (16-1, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) out-blocked Arkansas, who entered the match leading the league in blocks per game during SEC play, by a total of 15.5-11.0, while also winning the dig battle, 84-77. On the individual level, junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) led all players with 10 total blocks to mark her second double-figure block effort of the year, and sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) posted a match-high 27 digs.

 

“We had chances to win, but we let them go by the wayside,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I give credit to Arkansas for the way they played, and it just goes to show that the SEC isn’t like it used to be. It’s a tough loss, but there are things we can learn from it.”

 

McCray’s performance was the fifth 20-kill showing of her career, and it came on a career-high 48 attempts. She also established a season high with six total blocks, falling just one shy of her career best.

 

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded 18 kills to go along with 10 digs, marking her 10th double-double of the season. She also ripped off a career-high four service aces to lead a Florida attack that picked up a dozen on the night.

 

Senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) posted a career-best eight total blocks on the night, while also leading all players with 59 assists. Freshman defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) helped out with a personal-best 14 digs, while senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) posted a season-best nine in addition to nine kills and six blocks.

 

Hampton had two early kills in the tightly-contested early stages of game one, and UF took an 11-7 lead after consecutive block assists Killingsworth and McGinnis, forcing Arkansas to call its first timeout. The Gators opened up a five-point lead, 15-10, on an ace by Killingsworth, and their lead increased to 20-13 before the Lady Razorbacks called their second timeout of the frame. After Arkansas battled back to tie the score at 21-21, Killingsworth and McCray combined on a block and freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) scored a kill to give UF a two-point edge. Wise called her second timeout of the game after Arkansas again tied the score, and the teams split the first six points after the break to make the score 27-27. McCray forced game point at 29-28 with her fifth kill of the night, but the Lady Razorbacks managed to tie the score on the next rally, and then took the next two points to claim the first game, 31-29. Hampton and McCray shared the team lead with five kills in the first game, while Killingsworth collected three blocks in the opener.

 

Florida jumped out to a 3-1 lead in game two courtesy of a block assist by McGinnis and Bowers, and the margin increased to 6-3 on a block assist by Hampton and Bowers. Arkansas fought back to take a 13-9 lead, but McCray responded with a kill to spark a 5-1 Florida run that knotted the score at 14-14. Back-to-back kills by Hampton and McCray gave UF a 17-16 lead, but the Lady Razorbacks came back yet again to take a 20-19 edge. Florida took the next two points to assume a 21-20 advantage, and, after an Arkansas timeout, Rivers and Hampton recorded consecutive kills to give the Orange and Blue a 23-21 lead. A series of Arkansas attack errors gave UF a 26-23 cushion, and McCray fired her 10th kill of the evening just minutes later to make the score 27-24 in favor of the visitors and prompt the Lady ‘Backs to ask for their second timeout. Arkansas took the first three points after the pause to tie the score, but back-to-back kills by McCray and Killingsworth forced game point at 29-27. Arkansas took the next two points to tie the score, and continued their run to win the second game, 30-32.

 

The Gators ripped off a 5-0 run to open game three on kills from Hampton, McGinnis and Rivers, and McCray’s 14th kill of the night made the score 7-1 just minutes later. After Arkansas fought back to tie the score at 10-10, Killingsworth recorded a kill and Bowers and McGinnis teamed up on a pair blocks to power a 9-1 run that put Florida up by a score of 19-11. Two kills and an ace by redshirt freshman outside hitter Janine Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) made the score 25-16, and the Gators went up 10 shortly after, 27-17, on a double block by Hampton and Bowers. After Hampton’s 13th kill of the night gave UF a game-point opportunity at 29-18, she closed it out with a tip over the Arkansas block to get Florida on the board, 30-20. Hampton led Florida to a .317 hitting percentage in the frame with five kills, and the Gators tallied four blocks to hold the Lady ‘Backs to a .040 clip.

 

Two kills and a block solo from McCray, and an ace by Hampton, helped Florida jump out to a 4-1 lead in game four, and Hampton culminated the Gators’ frame-opening 8-1 run with the second ace of her serving turn. The margin reached 10-3 on a double block by McCray and Killingsworth, and Williams, McGinnis and Killingsworth all teamed up on a rejection just three rallies later to run the Gators’ lead out to 12-4. An ace by Killingsworth and a kill by Hampton made the score 19-8 in favor of the Orange and Blue, and Hampton’s third ace of the game eventually pushed the margin to 23-10. Cusack ripped off back-to-back aces to increase Florida’s lead to 27-11, and an Arkansas attack error ended the game four rallies later with the scoreboard reading 30-12 in favor of the visitors. The Gators hit .600 in the game and produced a season single-game high seven aces to force a decisive game five.

 

UF took a 4-1 lead in game five on the strength of a kill and an ace from Hampton and consecutive kills by Bowers, forcing Arkansas to take an early timeout. The Lady ‘Backs took the first two points after the stoppage to pull within one, but kills by McCray and McGinnis helped UF stay in front with a 7-4 edge. McGinnis and Killingsworth came up with a double block to send the game to the midway point with Florida up 8-4, but Arkansas came back to pull within two at 9-7 and force UF to call its first timeout of the game. Killingsworth came up with a kill out of the break to make the score 10-7, and after Arkansas scored a point, Hampton and McGinnis reeled off back-to-back kills to run the lead to 12-8. McCray forced match point at 14-10 with a kill down the middle of the court, but the Lady ‘Backs took the next two points to force a UF timeout with Florida leading, 14-12. Arkansas scored the first three points after the break to force match point, but McCray hammered the ball off of a defender to tie the match at 15-15. The Lady Razorbacks forced another match point on the next rally, but an Arkansas net violation knotted the score yet again. An Arkansas attack fell just out of the reach of the Gators to go to match point again, but the hosts were called for being in the net to extend the match. With Florida yet again facing elimination, Arkansas was called for a double hit to tie the score at 18-18, but Arkansas captured the next two points to take the game and the match, 20-18.

 

The Gators will return to action on Friday, Oct. 19, when they visit Auburn in a rematch of Florida’s 3-0 win earlier this season at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Fans can catch the action on WRUF-AM 850, as well as www.GatorZone.com.

 

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