Senior outside hitter Marcie
Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded her 14th double-double of the season
on Sunday to lead the eighth-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a
3-0 (30-28, 30-19, 30-22) win over Kentucky at Memorial Coliseum.
The win is UF’s eighth-consecutive win, and also marks the Gators’
seventh sweep in a row. They are now just one win away from extending the
nation’s longest streak of 25-win seasons to 17.
“This is one of the hardest places in the conference to win as a
visiting team, and I’m excited about the way we played today,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Our experience and
competitiveness really showed today, and I’m proud of the way our seniors
stepped up. This is the way we want to play at the end of the season.”
Hampton notched a match-high 17 kills on .421 hitting to
pace a Gator attack that hit .340 as a team and saw three of its members record
double-figure kill totals. Senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) and junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) each had 10 kills in the match, while freshman
outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.)
finished with nine to narrowly miss joining them in double digits.
Senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) handed
out 50 assists to guide Florida
(24-1, 17-1 Southeastern Conference) to its fourth-consecutive match with a
hitting percentage better than .300.
Hampton completed her double-double with a match-high 19
digs, tying her season high and falling just three shy of her career best.
Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse
Cusack (Melrose, Fla.)
chipped in with 15 digs to run her school-record streak of double-figure
performances to 29, and McGinnis and Rivers both posted nine on the afternoon
won the digs battle by a count of 63-58.
The Gators also out-blocked UK on Sunday, finishing with a
7.0-3.0 edge behind three apiece from Bowers, Hampton and Killingsworth. Rivers
finished with two blocks on the afternoon, including the Gators’ only solo
UF jumped out to a 5-3 lead early in game one courtesy of kills by Killingsworth
and Rivers, but Kentucky battled back to tie the score at 5-5. The teams traded
points until UK was able to
open up an 11-9 lead, but a pair of kills by senior opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas)
and one by Rivers brought the Gators back to a 12-12 tie. Consecutive kills by Bowers
to grab a 14-13 lead, and a kill by McGinnis just minutes later put UF on top
by a score of 18-15 and forced the Wildcats to burn their first timeout.
Killingsworth put down a kill out of the break to make the score 19-15, and
had battled back to within two, she responded with her third of the afternoon
to help the Gators hold a 20-17 margin. Kills on consecutive rallies by Hampton
and Killingsworth, respectively, sparked Florida
to a 22-18 lead, but Kentucky
was once again able to battle back and tie the score
at 24-24. Rivers and Hampton came up with kills on back-to-back rallies to push
UF to a 26-24 advantage and force a UK
timeout, but Bowers and Hampton teamed up on a block on the first rally after
the stoppage to keep Florida’s
momentum intact and increase the lead to 27-24. A UK
attack error forced game point for the Gators at 29-27, and Hampton capped the game-one win, 30-28, two
rallies later with her game-high sixth kill. Cusack posted seven digs in the
opener to lead a Florida defensive effort that
to .135 hitting.
The Gators found themselves down 4-2 early in the second game, but
kills by Rivers and McCray helped them storm back to take a 6-5 lead. Three-straight
kills by Bowers, Hampton and Killingsworth pushed the lead to 10-7, and
McGinnis made it four kills in a row for Florida
on the next rally to put UF up, 11-7, and force a UK timeout. A block assist by
Hampton and Killingsworth sparked a 4-1 Florida
run that stretched the lead to 15-9, but Kentucky
rallied to within two points at 16-14. After a Florida timeout, McCray and
Bowers double-teamed a block and Rivers fired a kill to run the score to 18-14,
and the Wildcats were forced to burn their final timeout of the frame when a
block assist by Hampton and Bowers increased UF’s lead to 20-15. The Gators
captured the first five points after the stoppage, highlighted by a Rivers ace,
to take a 25-15 lead. Hampton and Killingsworth each recorded a pair of kills
down the stretch before Rivers sealed game two, 30-19, for the Gators, who
closed the frame on a 14-5 run. Hampton, Killingsworth and Rivers each had five
kills on a combined 34 swings in the game to pace Florida
to a .348 team hitting percentage, while 4.0 team blocks limited Kentucky to just .104
had 11 kills and 11 digs to her credit after the second stanza, marking the
second-straight match that she needed only two game to
record a double-double.
UF took a 3-0 lead in game three on kills by Hampton,
Killingsworth and McCray, and kills by Bowers and McGinnis helped increase the
lead to 9-3 before Kentucky
head coach Craig Skinner called for his first timeout of the game. The Gators
took the first two points after the break on the strength of another McGinnis
kill, and a double block by Hampton and Killingsworth extended the margin to
13-4. A pair of kills by McCray increased Florida’s lead to 17-9, and a Bowers kill
sent UF to the 20-point mark in front by eight. The Orange
and Blue led by a count of 22-13 when the Wildcats called their second timeout
of the game, and the lead reached 10 points at 23-13 by way of a UK attack error
on the first series after the stoppage. Rivers registered a block solo to make
the score 27-18 in Florida’s favor, and a Bowers kill set up match point at
29-20 before Hampton delivered the decisive point at 30-22.
Florida will hit the court again on Friday, when it returns home to face Alabama at 7 p.m. ET.
Radio coverage of the match can be found on WRUF-AM 850, as well as www.GatorZone.com, and GatorVision Online
subscribers will be able to view the match live.
- UF –