Senior opposite hitter Amber
McCray (Longview, Texas) recorded a match-high 14 kills and freshman
outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter
Park, Fla.) posted her third-career double-double on Sunday to lead the
10th-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-0 (30-28, 30-23, 30-25)
win over Arkansas at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
With 14 kills on .462 hitting, McCray was part of a UF attack that
posted a .339 mark on the day. Junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville,
Fla.) hit .529 to lead the
way for five Gators who hit better than .300. Florida’s defense was also active on Sunday,
recording 10.0 total blocks to mark the team’s seventh-straight outing with a
double-figure block total. UF (22-1, 15-1 Southeastern Conference) also held a
50-42 dig margin on the afternoon.
“A 3-0 score doesn’t really tell the whole story of what happened
head coach Mary Wise said. “That was
some pretty good volleyball. We tried to downplay the revenge factor all week,
but we played with just the right amount of emotion and used it to our
Rivers finished the day with 11 kills and a career-high-tying 10 digs,
while also chalking up a pair of blocks. Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville,
Fla.) chipped in with kills on the day,
while Bowers had nine and senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona,
Fla.) chipped in with eight.
Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.)
tallied a team-high 14 digs on the day, and senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser,
Mich.) handed out a
match-best 48 assists. Bowers led the way with five blocks – leaving her just
three shy of 300 for her career – and Killingsworth finished the day with four.
Florida’s win clinched a share of the SEC East title, and the Gators would
clinch a share of the overall SEC crown if Alabama were to lose on Sunday afternoon.
UF found itself facing a 9-3 deficit in the early stages of the
opening game, but a pair of kills by McCray and one by McCray helped UF pull
within three at 12-9. A back-row kill by Hampton
and an Arkansas’
attack error brought the Gators to within a point at 14-13, but the Lady ‘Backs
fought back to increase their lead to 20-16. Florida roared back to tie the
match at 23-23 on Bowers’ fourth kill of the game, forcing an Arkansas timeout,
and captured the lead just minutes later when Killingsworth and Hampton teamed
up on a block to make the score 25-24. Hampton
provided three kills of her four game-one down the stretch for the Gators,
including the game-winner, as UF ended the frame on a 14-8 run to take the opener,
30-28. Rivers recorded five kills to lead an Orange and Blue attack that hit .359 in the
McCray got the Gators on the board in game two with her fifth kill of
the afternoon, and Bowers, Hampton, Killingsworth and Rivers each added one of
their own before Bowers and Rivers tag-teamed a block to tie the score at 8-8. Florida took its first
lead of the stanza at 10-9 on a kill by McGinnis, and back-to-back
Killingsworth kills helped UF maintain a one-point edge at the 13-12 mark.
Kills by McCray and Hampton helped the home team open up a 15-12 lead, but UA
battled back with a 4-0 run to take a 16-15 advantage. McCray and Bowers fired
kills on consecutive rallies to give Florida a
19-18 lead, and an Arkansas
attack error on the next series gave UF a two-point edge and prompted a UA
timeout. A block assist by Killingsworth and McGinnis pushed Florida’s lead to
24-21, and Arkansas was forced to burn its second timeout of the game just
minutes later when Hampton slammed home an overpass to make the score 26-21.
Rivers forced game point at 29-23 with her ninth kill of the afternoon, setting
the stage for McCray and Bowers to send the match into the intermission with a
double block that sealed the 30-23 win for UF. McCray led all players with five
kills in the second stanza, while Bowers posted three block assists to pace a
Florida defense that limited UA to a .029 hitting percentage.
UF took its first lead of game three at 5-4 on a kill down the middle
by Killingsworth, but the Gators found themselves trailing by a score of 15-10
at the midway point of the frame. A block assist by Bowers and McGinnis
preceded a Hampton
block solo to bring the Gators within four at 17-13, and a pair of McCray kills
helped UF pull within two points at the 20-18 mark. McCray’s 13th kill of the
match tied the score at 20-20 and Rivers followed up with a kill of her own to
a 21-20 lead and cap an 8-2 UF run. Arkansas came back to tie the match at
25-25, but Hampton took charge of the match from that point, ripping four
straight kills to force game point at 29-25 before the Gators closed out the
win on an Arkansas attack error. McCray and Hampton both had five kills in the
decisive game, as McGinnis handed out 15 assists in a .282 hitting effort.
UF will hit the road next weekend for its final SEC road trip of the
season, opening the action on Friday night at Tennessee. WRUF-AM 850 will carry the
action, which will begin at 7 p.m. ET, and the call can also be found at www.GatorZone.com.
- UF –