Senior outside hitter Marcie
Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.)
posted her 13th double-double of the season and senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) had a
record-setting night to lead the eighth-ranked University of Florida to its
17th-straight Southeastern Conference title on Friday night with a 3-0 (30-20,
30-18, 30-27) win over Tennessee.
By clinching the league crown on Friday night, UF (23-1, 16-1 SEC)
tied the Arkansas men’s cross country team for the most consecutive SEC titles
in any sport – men’s or women’s. The championship also marked Florida’s second of the fall, joining the
SEC regular-season crown that the soccer team captured a week ago.
McGinnis dished out 55 assists on the night, breaking her own school
record for assists in a three-game match en route to setting the Gators to a
.378 hitting team hitting percentage. Hampton
led all players with 18 kills on the night, and freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.)
tied her career high with 13 on a .385 efficiency rating. Senior opposite
hitter Amber McCray (Longview,
Texas) also chipped in with 11 on .526
hitting to give Florida
three players in double figures on the night.
“I’ve been saying all year that this isn’t your mother’s SEC, and
being able to clinch the title feels wonderful,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Every conference match
this year has been a battle. We came out ready to play tonight, and we executed
well on offense. With a setter like Angie McGinnis on your side, it can make
you fun to watch at times, and we really saw her near the top of her game tonight.”
Hampton turned in a team-high 16 digs on the night to
qualify for her 13th double-double of the season and the 40th of her career.
McGinnis also recorded a double-double in the victory, adding 11 digs to her
record-setting 55 assists. Junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) and senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona,
Fla.) shared match-high
honors with three blocks apiece, and the effort allowed Bowers to become just
the 17th player in school history with at least 300 blocks for her career as
she finished the night right at that mark.
Freshman outside hitter Callie
Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) delivered two kills in the early
stages of game one, helping the Gators keep pace during a hotly contested first
10 points. Senior outside hitter Marcie
Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) responded with back-to-back kills to ignite a
6-0 run that gave UF a 12-6 lead, culminating when a kill by senior middle
blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona,
Fla.) ripped her second kill of the night off of the UT block. A block
assist by senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) and
junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.)
extended the lead to 16-10, and Hampton put down her third kill of the night to
make the score 19-13 in Florida’s favor before the Lady Vols asked for their
second timeout of the frame. A pair of kills by senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) kept the
Gators up a half dozen at 23-17, and they took a 10-point lead of the night at
27-17 just minutes later on a UT ball-handling error. Sophomore middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis,
Ind.) forced game point at 29-20, and Hampton put the opener away on the next rally with a kill
off of the Tennessee
block. Hampton and McCray led all players with six kills apiece in the frame,
while the former also posted nine blocks to lead a defensive effort that held
the Lady Vols to .130 hitting in game one. McGinnis assisted on 21 of the
Gators’ 30 points in the opening stanza.
Hampton opened the game two scoring by slamming a kill off of the Lady Vols’
block, and Florida
found itself with a 4-1 lead after Killingsworth’s second block solo of the
night. McCray helped extend the lead by teaming with Killingsworth on a block
assist before putting down consecutive kills to force Tennessee into a timeout with UF on top by a
count of 9-2. Two kills by Rivers pushed the score to 15-7, and Hampton added a pair of her own to put UF up, 19-10, and
to burn a timeout. A pair of kills by freshman opposite hitter Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.)
and a Killingsworth ace ran the advantage to 23-11, and Johnson again forced
game point, at 29-16, before Bledsoe topped off the 30-18 win with her third
kill of the frame. The Gators led throughout and hit .541 in the game, getting
17 assists from McGinnis and six kills from Hampton, who added a dig to reach a
double-double after just two frames.
Florida took its first lead of game three on a Rivers kill
that made the score 5-4, and opened up a two-point lead at 8-6 on a kill by
McGinnis. An ace by Rivers increased the edge to 10-7, but the Lady Vols
battled back to tie the score at 12-12. UF responded by taking three of the
next four points to claim a 15-13 lead, and a block solo by McCray sent the
Gators to the 20-point mark with a three-point advantage. A pair of kills by
Killingsworth and a Rivers block pushed the lead to 23-19, and Tennessee was forced to burn a timeout after a Lady Vols’
attack error put Florida
up by five at 25-20. The Orange and Blue took
two of the first three points after the stoppage on kills by Bowers and Rivers,
and a McGinnis dump brought the Gators to match point at 29-25 before a UT
attack error capped the 3-0 sweep for Florida.
The Gators hit .348 in the frame, led yet again by Hampton, who posted her
third six-kill game of the night.
UF will play its final SEC road match of the season on Sunday, when it
meets Kentucky at 1 p.m. ET in Lexington. Radio coverage
of the action can be found on WRUF-AM 850, as well as www.GatorZone.com.
- UF –