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Friday October 17, 2008Key Service Runs Help Volleyball Sweep Auburn

Auburn, AL

Freshman Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) finished with 13 kills on .667 hitting and sophomore defensive specialist Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) provided two key service runs Friday as the No. 8/7 Gators swept Auburn, 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-14) in the Student Activities Center.


The Gators (16-1, 10-0 Southeastern Conference) out-blocked the Tigers (5-15, 0-9 SEC), 10.0-3.0 and improve to 5-0 this season when recording double-digit team blocks. Florida hit .405 in the match, its highest hitting efficiency in a league match this season. 


Murphy added 15 assists for her ninth consecutive double-double, while Fleming finished with 15 service attempts and no errors for a perfect 1.000 serving efficiency. She also had a season-best five digs in the match.


“I thought a player that really did a great job for us tonight was Erin Fleming,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The two big runs we had in sets one and two were because of her play. She provided a lot of energy and production for us coming in off the bench to help us in our fourth match in seven days.”


Junior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) had 16 digs in the match to tie former Gator Marcie Hampton for second place on the school’s all-time career digs list. Cusack now has 1,384 career digs in her Florida career. She also served two aces in the match.


“When Elyse digs balls for us, Florida is at its best,” Wise said. “She didn’t dig as many balls in the first set as she did in the second and third sets when we really started clicking. Good things happen when Elyse is digging balls for us.”


Redshirt freshman outside hitter/right-side Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) registered eight kills and tied her career high with four blocks, while sophomore outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) had five kills on .333 hitting. Freshman setter Cindy Bathelt (Colorado Springs, Colo.) dished out a team-high 18 assists.


Senior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) had 11 serves for no errors in the match and posted four blocks to increase her career total to 381 rejections. She needs just two more to tie former Gator Kisya Killingsworth for eighth-place on the school’s all-time career blocks list. Freshman outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) had seven kills to notch her 12th match with seven or more kills this season.


Auburn raced out to a 4-0 advantage to begin the first set before the Gators capitalized on three errors by the Tigers in a 3-1 Florida run to whittle its deficit down to two, 5-3. With the Gators trailing by three, 6-3, Ward registered a kill to again bring Florida within two at 6-4, but Auburn ran off two consecutive points to widen its lead back out to four, 8-4. The Tigers then committed three consecutive errors to allow the Gators to cut within one, 8-7. Auburn responded with a 3-1 run of its own before a kill by Murphy on the angle stopped the Tigers’ scoring spree. With Florida trailing 12-10, Bowers notched a kill off the slide play and then teamed with Jaeckel for a block on the right side to knot the score at 12-12. From there, the Gators committed back-to-back errors and Auburn’s Jessica Glover registered a put-down to cap a 3-0 run and put the Tigers back in front 15-12. Back-to-back kills by Rivers and Ward brought Florida to within one, 15-14.


After Auburn built its lead back out to three at 18-15, the Tigers committed a service error and Rivers drilled a kill on the outside to whittle UF’s deficit down to one, 18-17. An attack error by Glover on the next play allowed the Gators to tie the score at 18-all heading into an Auburn timeout. Out of the break, Murphy recorded a kill off the block and then teamed with Johnson for a powerful block on the right side to put Florida ahead 20-18. A rejection by junior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Rivers in the middle gave the Gators a 21-18 advantage heading into another AU timeout. Florida extended that rally into an 8-0 run behind the strong serving of Fleming that brought it to set point at 24-18. The Tigers staved off one attempt at set point before a kill by Murphy on the angle gave Florida a 25-19 first-set victory. The Gators held Auburn to just .079 hitting in the first set.


Auburn opened to a 5-0 lead in the second set before a put-down by Ward ended the Tigers’ scoring spree. That sparked a 3-1 run by the Gators that was capped off by back-to-back kills from Murphy and cut Florida’s deficit to three, 6-3. Auburn answered with two consecutive points of its own to force Wise to burn an early timeout down 8-3. The two teams then began trading points until the Gators, trailing 11-6, benefited from a Tiger service error and a block by Johnson and Ward to cut their deficit down to three, 11-8.


Auburn responded with a 2-0 run of its own before a Murphy put-down and back-to-back blocks brought Florida to within two, 13-11, behind Fleming’s strong serving. With the Gators trailing 14-11, Jaeckel, Bowers and Murphy notched consecutive kills to tie the score at 14-all and force the Tigers to burn a timeout. Florida extended that run to 10-0 behind the serving of Cusack to widen its lead to seven, 21-14. After a Cusack service error ended that scoring run, the Gators scored two in a row to go up 23-15. A Bowers kill brought Florida to set point at 24-16 before an attack error by the Tigers gave the Gators a 25-16 second-set victory. Florida hit an impressive .455 in the second set, as compared to Auburn’s .148 hitting.


Florida began the third set on a 4-1 run capped off by a Jaeckel kill. After a put-down by Auburn’s Glover, Bledsoe and Murphy notched kills and Bathelt served an ace to extend the Gators’ advantage to 7-2. Back-to-back put-downs by the Tigers’ Olympia Haney brought them to within three, 7-4, before a Murphy kill off the block ended Auburn’s scoring spree. With Florida up 8-4, the two teams began trading points before the Tigers scored two in a row to whittle their deficit to three, 11-8. An Auburn service error and a Jaeckel kill put the Gators back up by five, 13-8.


A block by the Tigers brought them to within 13-9 before Florida scored five in a row, capped off by a block by freshman middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Jaeckel. From there, Auburn ran off three consecutive points to cut within five, 18-13. Back-to-back kill by Jaeckel brought Florida to the 20-point plateau, ahead 20-13. After an Auburn put-down, consecutive kills from Jaeckel and Murphy extended the Gators’ lead to eight, 22-14, and forced a Tiger timeout. Murphy registered a kill out of the timeout and Auburn committed an attack error on the next play to bring Florida to match point at 24-14. A block by Anderson and Murphy gave Florida the 25-14 victory in the third set. 


Florida returns to action on Friday when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., for a re-match with LSU. Opening serve in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center is slated for 8 p.m. EDT and the match will be carried live on WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett.



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