Sunday October 12, 2008No. 9/8 Volleyball Sweeps Past Tennessee, 3-0
Freshman Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) charted her seventh consecutive double-double Sunday and freshman middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had her finest collegiate match to date as the No. 9/8 Gators swept Tennessee for a 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-22) victory in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Gators (14-1, 8-0 Southeastern Conference), who swept Tennessee (10-8, 4-4) for the 29th time in 46 meetings between the two teams, improve to 8-0 in the SEC for the 17th time in the past 18 seasons.
“The offense was the key that allowed us to win,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The set distribution was good and I think that the big lift for us and the story of this match has to be the play of Cassandra Anderson off the bench.”
Murphy finished with a team-high 12 kills and 15 assists to complement five digs and two service aces for a match-high 15.0 points following her third career triple-double on Friday night vs. No. 25 Kentucky.
“I think Kelly took her game to another level,” Wise said. “She’s been playing really well, but what we sensed today was how badly she wanted to be better. She called for the ball. As hard as she’s been hitting, I think it went to another speed.”
Anderson charted a career-high four kills on seven swings with no errors for a .571 hitting efficiency with a career-high four blocks, including three solo blocks. She becomes the first Gator to record three solo blocks in a match since teammate Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) did so against Alabama on Sept. 24, 2006.
Bowers also had four blocks in the match for the Gators, as she has now either led or tied for the team lead in blocks in six of the squad’s last seven matches. Bowers increased her career blocks total to 377 and needs just six more to move into a tie with Kisya Killingsworth for eighth place all-time.
Junior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) charted a match-high 12 digs to move her into sole possession of fourth place on the school’s all-time digs list. She now has 1,358 career scoops and needs just 14 more to move into a tie with Rachel Engel (2002-05) for third place all-time.
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) finished with seven kills, while sophomore right-side/middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) registered six kills and no errors on 16 swings for a .375 hitting efficiency. Freshman setter Cindy Bathelt (Colorado Springs, Colo.) tied for the team lead with 15 assists to complement five digs.
Florida opened up to a 5-2 advantage in the first set after a Murphy kill and an attack error by the Lady Vols’ Farren Powe. Tennessee scored three consecutive points from there to knot the score at 5-5. After another tie at 6-all, Tennessee used two kills and back-to-back attack errors by Murphy and Jaeckel to go up 9-6 and force Wise to burn a timeout. Out of the break, Bowers registered a kill to spark a 4-0 run for the Gators that was highlighted by three service points from Murphy, including an ace to put Florida back in front 10-9. After a kill by the Lady Vols that tied the score at 10-10, a Tennessee attack error and consecutive kills by Jaeckel and Bowers gave Florida a 13-10 advantage and forced UT head coach Rob Patrick to call a timeout.
The Gators kept rolling to a 15-11 lead following a Jaeckel kill. With Florida ahead 15-13, Jaeckel notched a put-down and Bathelt followed with an ace to widen UF’s margin to 17-13. The two teams then began trading points before a Tennessee kill and an attack error by Bowers knotted the score at 19-all. Following another tie at 20-20, Bledsoe notched a kill and Nikki Fowler committed an attack error to put the Gators ahead 22-20 heading into a UT timeout. Out of the break, the Lady Vols committed a ball-handling error, but scored two consecutive following that to cut within one, 23-22. Following a Florida timeout, Tennessee committed a service error and an attack error in successive plays to give the Gators a 25-22 first-set victory.
The two teams battled evenly to begin the second set before Florida broke a 3-all tie with three consecutive points, including an ace by Bowers. With the Gators ahead 8-5, Jaeckel registered a kill and Murphy followed with back-to-back put-downs to put Florida in front 11-5 and force a Tennessee timeout. Out of the break, Florida scored four of the next five points to extend its advantage to 15-6. The Gators kept rolling to a 17-7 lead on an ace by Murphy that caused the Lady Vols to use another timeout.
Out of the break, a kill by Rivers and an attack error by Tennessee extended Florida’s advantage to 19-7. Consecutive kills by sophomore outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.), freshman outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) and Bledsoe following a Murphy service error gave the Gators a 22-8 lead. The Lady Vols then scored two straight points, but Bledsoe responded with a kill to stop the scoring streak. The teams traded points until an Anderson put-down gave Florida a 25-12 win in the second set.
Tennessee jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the third set before Murphy recorded a kill to stop the Lady Vols’ scoring spree. With Tennessee ahead 7-4 after a kill by Kayla Jeter, Florida ran off four consecutive points to go up 8-7 after back-to-back kills by Ward and Murphy. Following eight ties, Ward committed an attack error and UT’s Kylie Marshall had a kill to put the Lady Vols ahead 18-16 and force a Florida timeout.
The two teams then traded points and, after four ties, Anderson and Murphy posted a resounding block and Murphy followed with a put-down to bring UF to match point ahead 24-22. Tennessee’s Fowler committed an attack error on the final play of the match to give Florida a 25-22 third-set victory.
Tennessee was led by Fowler’s 13 kills on .300 hitting with six digs for 14.5 points.
Florida returns to action on Wednesday when it plays host to South Carolina in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center to close out a three-match homestand for the Gators. Opening serve between UF and the Gamecocks is set for 7 p.m. EDT and the match will be carried live on Sun Sports and WRUF AM-850.
END OF REPORT