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Saturday November 29, 2008Murphy Triple-Double Leads Gators to Sweep of UNLV

Las Vegas, NV

Freshman Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) became the first player in school history to record back-to-back triple-doubles, as she finished with 13 kills, 17 assists and a career-high-tying 15 digs Saturday evening to lead the No. 14/12 Gators to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-21) victory against Mountain West Conference member UNLV in the Cox Pavilion.


The Gators (25-3), who have now won 25 or more matches in each of their last 18 seasons, put together one of their most balanced offensive performances of the season as four players tallied seven or more kills and each of the 13 players who dressed for the match saw action in at least one set.


“Tonight’s match was a win where we got production out of everyone,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The fact that we had five players at 20-plus swings shows that we gave ourselves a lot of options tonight. I thought we showed great patience against one of the finest defensive teams that we have faced all year.”


Murphy has recorded a record-setting six triple-doubles just 28 matches into her collegiate career and, on Wednesday at South Carolina, broke former All-America setter Angie McGinnis’ record of four career triple-doubles. She also finished with five blocks and a team-leading 15.5 points.


Redshirt freshman outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) finished with eight kills on .259 hitting, while freshman middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added eight kills on .350 hitting with five blocks. Sophomore middle blocker/right-side Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) tallied seven kills on .636 hitting.


Junior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) became the first player in school history to reach the 1,600-dig plateau for her career as she posted a team-leading 16 digs in the match to increase her career total to 1,600. Freshman setter Cindy Bathelt (Colorado Springs, Colo.) dished out a match-high 20 assists to go along with five digs.


Florida broke a 3-3 tie early in the first set with a UNLV attack error and a block on the outside by senior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers (Gainesville, Fla.) and Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) to go ahead 5-3 headed into a timeout by the Rebels. The two teams began trading points until the Gators, leading 8-6, went on a 5-1 run that included a block by Anderson and Murphy and an ace by Bathelt, to put Florida in front by seven, 13-6. From there, UNLV scored four of the set’s next five points to cut within four, 14-10. A kill by Anderson stopped the Rebels’ scoring spree and sparked a 3-0 Gator run that gave them a 17-10 advantage.


UNLV ran off two consecutive points before Rivers and Bowers notched back-to-back kills to give Florida a 19-12 lead. The two squads began trading points again before the Gators, leading 21-15, got a kill by Bledsoe and a block by Anderson and Murphy to go ahead 23-15. The Rebels whittled their deficit down to six, 23-17, following back-to-back kills. A Jaeckel put-down brought UF to set point at 24-17 and, after UNLV staved off one attempt at the set, Rivers slammed down an overpass to give the Gators a 25-18 first-set victory. Florida out-hit UNLV, .216-.083 in the opening frame.


The two teams battled evenly to commence the second set before a Jaeckel service error and a UNLV ace put the Rebels ahead 10-7. A service ace by Anderson and a Ward attack error extended UNLV’s advantage to 12-7 and forced Wise to burn a timeout. Out of the break, Murphy drilled a kill down the middle and Ward had back-to-back kills to spark a 3-1 Florida run that brought the Gators to within one, 13-12. Back-to-back attack errors by Ward allowed the Rebels to go ahead by three, 16-13.

A kill by Jaeckel and a block solo by Murphy brought UF again within one, this time at 16-15.


With the Gators down 17-15, Jaeckel notched a kill and Murphy followed by drilling a kill of her own on the angle to knot the score at 17-17. UNLV scored three of the next four points to go back up by two, 20-18. From there, back-to-back kills from the Rebels extended their lead to three, 22-19, and forced a Gator timeout. Consecutive put-downs by Bledsoe and Jaeckel whittled UF’s deficit down to one, 23-22. A Cusack ace knotted the score at 23-23 and caused UNLV to burn a timeout. A Rebel attack error brought the Gators to set point at 24-23 and a powerful kill by Bledsoe on the right side closed out the 25-23 second-set win.


The Gators broke open a 5-5 tie in the third set with kills by Rivers and Anderson, and a block by Anderson and Jaeckel to put Florida ahead 8-5 and force a UNLV timeout. With Florida in front by two, 8-6, an Anderson kill sparked a 3-0 Gator run that was capped off by a Bathelt ace and put them ahead 11-6. After two consecutive points by Florida, Anderson registered a kill on the slide play and Murphy followed with a kill of her own to give the Gators a 13-8 edge.


Trailing 14-8, the Rebels ran off two points in a row to come within four, 14-10, and again came within four at 16-12. From there, Johnson charted a kill and then teamed with Jaeckel for a block to extend Florida’s advantage to 18-12. UNLV hung tough, coming within four on several more occasions before a Murphy kill put the Gators ahead 23-17. She followed with another kill to bring Florida to match point at 24-17. The Rebels staved off four UF attempts at the match, before Anderson killed an overpass for a 25-21 Florida win.


The Gators improve to 2-0 all-time vs. UNLV in school history and Florida is now 12-6 all-time vs. members in the current alignment of the Mountain West Conference.


The Rebels (16-14) were led by Sarah Nehf’s team-high 10 kills.


Florida will now return to Gainesville to await the NCAA Tournament selection to find out where the Gators will commence play in their 18th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. The selection show is slated to air from 10-10:30 p.m. EST Sunday evening on ESPNU.


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