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Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton reached 20 kills for the fourth time this year against Yale.

Friday November 23, 2007No. 8 VB Defeats Yale, 3-1, Behind Hampton's 20 Kills

Long Beach, CA

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton reached 20 kills for the fourth time this year against Yale.

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) ripped a match-high 20 kills on Friday night to lead the eighth-ranked University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-1 (27-30, 30-23, 30-17, 30-18) win over Yale in the first of its two matches at the Baden Thanksgiving Classic.


Hampton’s 20 kills paced a quartet of Gators in double figures, as freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) delivered a career-high 17, senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) chipped in with a dozen and junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) added 10. Senior setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) handed out 59 assists on the night, guiding UF to a .320 team hitting percentage.


“We came in expecting a tough match from Yale team that was in contention to win its conference until the end of the season, and we certainly got it,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I was proud of the way our players responded when things weren’t going our way. We still have some things to work on as we prepare for the postseason, and we’ll continue to try to get better every day.”


In addition to piling up more kills and out-hitting the Bulldogs, UF (27-1, 19-1 Southeastern Conference) won both the blocks (12.0-8.0) and digs (66-42) battles, while also picking up five aces on the night. Sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) led the team with 15 digs, and Killingsworth registered six total blocks to lead all participants.


Hampton’s effort was her fourth 20-kill match of the season and the seventh of her career, and combined with her 14 digs to mark her 16th double-double of the campaign. Rivers also posted a double-double on the night, her fifth of the year, by accompanying her career-high 17 kills with 10 digs. A pair of Gators narrowly missed double-doubles on the night, as McGinnis finished just one kill shy and Cusack’s season-high eight assists left her only two short.


Hampton, who also added a pair of aces and two total blocks on the night, turned in a season-high 23.5 points in the victory.


Florida took an early 4-2 lead in game one behind kills from Hampton and McGinnis, but Yale fought back to take a 10-7 advantage. Cusack fired an ace to square the match at 12-12, and the Gators took a 13-12 edge on the next rally as Killingsworth pounded home a kill from behind the setter. UF’s lead grew to 17-14 after an ace by Hampton and a double block by Killingsworth and freshman opposite hitter Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.), and the Gators forced a Yale timeout after McGinnis and Bowers tag-teamed a block and Rivers ripped a kill to put the Orange and Blue up 21-17. Florida held a lead of 25-20 late in the game, but Yale charged back to take the first game by a score of 30-27. Hampton led all players with five kills in the frame, while Killingsworth had four and Bledsoe chipped in with three.


Yale took an early 7-2 lead in game two, and continued to push until it reached double figures with a 10-4 lead. A pair of Bowers kills kept the Gators within a half dozen at 13-7, and Florida began to chip away until the Bulldogs were forced to ask for timeout after a double block by Bowers and Rivers drew UF within two, 17-15. Killingsworth skipped a kill off of the Yale block to bring Florida within a point at 19-18, then tied the match at 20-20 with a solo block. Consecutive Yale attack errors gave UF a 23-21 lead and prompted a Bulldogs timeout, and the Gators took the first three points out of the break behind a Hampton ace and a kill by Killingsworth to make the score 26-21. Rivers delivered two kills to keep Florida out in front by a count of 28-23, and a Yale attack error forced game point before Rivers put the game away for the Gators, 30-23, with her eighth kill of the night. UF, which ended the second game on an 11-4 run, hit .310 in the game, led by six kills apiece from Hampton and Rivers. The Orange and Blue also piled up 3.5 blocks as a team, including two solo efforts from Killingsworth, in the stanza to limit the Bulldogs to a .130 hitting percentage.


Florida used an early 6-0 run, ignited by a Hampton kill and capped by a block assist from Killingsworth and McCray, to battle back from a 4-2 deficit to grab an 8-4 lead before Yale was forced to burn its first timeout of game three. The score moved to 15-10 after back-to-back kills by Hampton and Bowers, and Yale asked for its final timeout of the game after McGinnis dumped a ball into the middle of the Bulldogs defense to increase the lead to 19-12. Florida’s lead reached double digits on a kill by Cusack when one of her digs went across the net and couldn’t be handled by Yale, and the margin didn’t dip below seven before Rivers closed out the frame with consecutive kills, giving her a dozen on the night. The Gators hit .351 in game three, paced by a five kills from Hampton, while holding Yale to a rating of only .033 with three more blocks in the frame.


The teams sided out over the first 10 points of game four, but the Gators were able to open up a 7-5 lead on back-to-back kills by McCray and Hampton, and kills by Rivers and Bowers increased Florida’s run to 5-0 before Yale asked for its first timeout of the frame. UF kept its momentum after the break, increasing its run to 11-1 and taking a 16-6 lead to prompt Yale’s second timeout of game four. Florida took the first two points after the stoppage before yielding a point, and kills by Bowers and McGinnis ran the Florida lead to a dozen at the 20-point mark. Hampton and Rivers collected kills down the stretch, and sophomore middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) ended the match with her lone kill of the night, as UF took game four by a count of 30-18.


Florida will put the lid on its regular-season schedule tomorrow when it meets Long Beach State at 10 p.m. ET. WRUF-AM 850 will carry the call of the match, which can also be found at Saturday’s match against the 49ers will also be offered on BigWest TV as a pay-per-view event via streaming Internet video at a cost of $4.95. Fans can click here to sign up for the broadcast.


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