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Wednesday October 15, 2008Volleyball Sweeps Past South Carolina

Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) recorded her eighth consecutive double-double and the Florida defense found its rhythm Wednesday as the No. 8/7 Gators swept South Carolina, 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-15) in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Florida (15-1, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) out-dug South Carolina (14-4, 6-3), which entered the match as the league’s top defensive team, 42-38 and out-blocked the Gamecocks 8.0-2.0. The Gators also out-hit South Carolina .381-.186.

 

“Looking at South Carolina, we saw they had out-hit their opponents by efficiency, not necessarily kills,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “By hitting efficiency, they’ve won every one. We felt that one of the keys would be if we could be more efficient offensively. We out-dug one of the best defensive teams in the league and got a lot of offensive production. The thing I was most pleased with was that we finally blocked balls tonight.”

 

Murphy had 13 kills on .522 hitting with a match-high 22 assists to lead the Gators. Freshman outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) finished with 10 kills on .409 hitting with six digs and a career-high five blocks. Ward also finished with a match-high 14.5 points.

 

“Colleen was pretty darn good, especially to be a part of five blocks,” Wise said. “She point-scored very well for us tonight. It was a great match for Colleen.”

 

Senior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) tied her season high with eight kills on a season-best .636 hitting, while freshman middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) concluded the match with a career-high five blocks and three kills.

 

Junior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) finished with a team-high 10 digs to increase her career digs total to 1,368 scoops. She needs just four more to tie Rachel Engel for third place all-time.

 

Sophomore outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) registered nine kills on .350 hitting with nine digs, while freshman setter Cindy Bathelt (Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished with 21 assists and seven digs.

 

The two teams battled evenly to begin the first set before a South Carolina service error and an ace by Ward sparked a 5-1 run by the Gators that put them ahead 7-4. The run was capped off by a Cusack ace. The Gamecocks then ran off three points in a row to knot the score at 7-7 before a service error stopped their scoring spree. Following another tie at 8-8, South Carolina committed a service error and Jaeckel followed with a kill to give Florida a 10-8 advantage. That was the start of a 4-1 run by the Gators that put them ahead 12-9 heading into a media timeout.

 

Out of the break, South Carolina ran off three consecutive points, the last of which came on a Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) attack error, to knot the score at 13. After another tie at 14-all, junior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Murphy registered back-to-back kill to put Florida back in front 15-13. With the Gators ahead 15-14, Murphy registered back-to-back kills to extend Florida’s advantage to 17-14 and force USC head coach Ben Somera to burn a timeout. Out of the break, the Gamecocks rallied with two consecutive points before a put-down by Ward off hands gave the Gators an 18-16 lead. The two teams then began trading points until Florida went ahead 22-19 after consecutive put-downs by Jaeckel and Ward. The two teams then traded points until an attack error against Ivana Kujundzic gave the Gators a 25-22 first-set victory.

 

Florida raced out to a 4-2 advantage in the first set after a block by Anderson and Ward, and a put-down by Jaeckel. Following a kill by South Carolina’s Belita Salters, the Gators went on a 7-0 run that was capped off by back-to-back kills by Murphy on the angle to put Florida ahead 11-3. After a point by the Gamecocks, Florida ran off two more points, capped off by a Murphy kill, to extend its advantage to 13-4.

 

The two teams then traded points until back-to-back South Carolina kills allowed the Gamecocks to whittle their deficit down to seven, 17-10, before back-to-back kills by Ward and Anderson stopped the scoring spree and put Florida in front 19-10.The two teams then traded points until a kill by Ward ended the second set to give the Gators a 25-17 victory.

 

Florida raced out to 5-2 advantage to begin the third set after a kill by Rivers. With the Gators ahead 6-3 after an Anderson put-down, South Carolina ran off three consecutive points to knot the score at 6-all. A service error by the Gamecocks and consecutive kills from Rivers, Bowers and Murphy put the Gators up 10-6. The two teams then traded points until South Carolina committed back-to-back errors and Jaeckel notched a kill to give Florida a 16-9 advantage and force a South Carolina timeout.

 

Out of the break, the Gamecocks ran off two consecutive points before the Gators went on a 2-0 run of their own, including an Anderson put-down, to go up 17-11. With Florida in front 18-12, the Gators went on a 4-0 scoring spree, capped off by a Murphy kill to take a 22-12 advantage. A put-down by Bowers gave Florida a 25-15 victory in the third set behind .500 hitting.

 

Florida returns to action on Friday when it travels to Auburn, Ala., to face the Tigers. Opening serve is set for 7 p.m. EDT and the match will be carried live on WRUF AM-850 with Tom Collett.

 

END OF REPORT

 

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