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Sunday August 24, 2008Blue Defeats Orange in Annual Intrasquad Scimmage

Gainesville, FL

 

Sophomore Florida outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) charted a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs as the Blue team defeated the Orange team 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 15-13) on Sunday in the annual Orange and Blue intrasquad scrimmage at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Redshirt freshman Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) and freshman right-side hitter/setter Kelly Murphy (Joliet, Ill.) each tallied six kills. Junior All-America libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) led the defensive effort with 15 digs.

“The best part about this scrimmage is that it lets us create as close to a game-like atmosphere as possible, especially for having so many freshmen” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “In the past, we’ve often tried to divide the teams into two even teams. Today, we felt it would be better for our young players to play a lineup similar to the one starting on Friday night. To do that in front of a crowd really helps with a game-like atmosphere.”

The match was especially important for returning middle blockers Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) and Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.), who saw their first “game-like” atmosphere since being unable to compete for much of the spring and summer due to injuries.

Bowers injured her back playing with the United States A2 team, while Johnson tore her ACL in the Gators’ NCAA Regional Semifinal match against Texas last season. Johnson posted three blocks in the Gators’ scrimmage on Sunday.

“I was really encouraged by the return of our veterans,” Wise said. “It was nice to see how solid Elyse Cusack was at libero. Kelsey Bowers has been saddling a nagging back injury and that’s why she played some in the back row today, and she did a nice job. For Kristina Johnson, it’s her first time playing in a match since a knee injury last season.”

Florida’s players and coaches also participated in a pre-match autograph session for more than an hour prior to the scrimmage as part of the team’s annual fan-day activities.

Florida will open its 2008 regular-season schedule on Friday when it plays host to the two-day Aquafina Invitational in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators’ first match comes at 7 p.m. ET on Friday vs. UAB. The game will be carried live on the Gator Radio Network (AM-850 in Gainesville) and GatorVision Online with live statistics available at www.GatorZone.com.

 

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