Saturday September 19, 2009Murphy Triple-Double Leads UF Past Ole Miss in Five
Sophomore Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) registered her eighth career triple-double and senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) moved into third place on the Southeastern Conference’s all-time career digs list to lead No. 5/6 Florida to a 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-17, 26-28, 15-11) win against Ole Miss on Friday in front of a packed crowd in the Gillom Sports Center.
The Gators (7-1, 1-0 SEC) improve to 22-4 all-time in SEC openers, including a perfect 19-0 mark under the direction of head coach Mary Wise.
“I think this is indicative of what SEC play is going to be like in 2009 – wins on the road are going to be hard to come by,” Wise said. “Ole Miss, in this environment, played really well as expected. The good news is that the play of Kelly and Kristy was really solid. The area where we have to get better is in eliminating unforced errors.”
Murphy finished with a career-high 20 kills on .441 hitting, 32 assists and a career-high 16 digs en route to her second triple-double of the season. The school’s career record holder in triple-doubles, Murphy is the only player in the SEC to have registered a kill so far this season.
Cusack recorded a match-high 22 digs in the match to increase her career total to 1,765. Florida’s all-time career digs leader, Cusack moved into third place on the SEC’s all-time digs list, surpassing former Georgia standout Shelly Gross (1983-86). Gross recorded 1,748 digs during her playing career. Cusack also dished out a career-high 12 assists.
Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) charted a season-high 19 kills on .366 hitting with 11 digs for her sixth career double-double. She also posted a season-high four blocks in the match for a match-high 21.5 points. Fellow outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) added 14 kills and tied her career high with five blocks.
Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) each registered a match-high six blocks.
Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) charted her third double-double in a Florida uniform with 21 assists and 13 digs.
Ole Miss raced out to a 3-1 advantage to begin the first set before the Gators capitalized on a few errors by the Rebels to knot the score at 3-3. The two teams continued to battle closely through six more ties until the Rebels ran off six consecutive points to take a 14-9 advantage. An Ole Miss service error and a Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) kill sparked a 3-0 run of points by the Gators that brought them within two, 14-12. The Rebels maintained a three-point advantage at 17-14, but Florida hung tough, cutting within one at 17-16. The Gators managed to knot the score at 19-all. After two more ties, Ole Miss scored the final four points of the set to take a 25-21 opening set victory.
Florida opened to a 6-3 lead in the second set powered by a strong block on the right side by Anderson and Bledsoe, and followed up with a kill from Murphy. That was the beginning of a 6-1 run by the Gators that put them up 10-4 on a put-down by Murphy from the outside. With Florida leading 10-5, the Gators went on a 5-0 run to extend their advantage to 10, 15-5, on a Murphy put-down. Trailing 19-10 after a kill by Jaeckel off the block, the Rebels ran off three points in a row to cut within six, 19-13. The two teams began trading points before Florida closed out the 25-16 victory.
The two teams battled closely to begin the third set before Florida broke an 11-all tie with back-to-back kills by Bledsoe and Jaeckel to go up 13-11. With the Gators in front 13-12, Bledsoe posted a kill and then Ole Miss committed back-to-back attack errors to go ahead 16-12. Florida kept rolling to a 21-16 advantage after a put-down by Murphy and an attack error by the Rebels’ Miranda Kitts. The Gators cruised to the 25-17 win.
The two teams fought evenly at the opening of the fourth set before Ole Miss broke a number of early ties to go up 19-16 on a kill by Caitlin Weiss. Murphy had a kill and Johnson and Ward teamed up for a block on the next play to bring Florida to within one, 19-18. The Gators and Rebels kept battling, but Ole Miss went ahead 23-21 after a service error by Cusack. The squads traded points before a Rebel service error and an Anderson kill knotted the score at 24-all. After two more ties, Weiss notched a kill and then Ole Miss teamed up for a block to give the Rebels a 28-26 fourth-set win.
Florida jumped out to a 6-1 advantage to begin the fifth set, thanks to four attack errors by the Rebels during that stretch. Ole Miss stopped its scoring drought with back-to-back points before a Jaeckel kill put the Gators up 7-3. The two teams traded points until back-to-back kills by Murphy put Florida ahead 10-5 and forced an Ole Miss timeout. With the Gators in front 13-7, the Rebels ran off three consecutive points to cut within three, 13-10, and force a UF timeout. Kills by Ward and Jaeckel on two of the next three plays closed out the 15-11 Florida victory.
The Gators improve to 35-3 all-time vs. Ole Miss, including a 29-0 record under Wise’s direction. The Rebels are one of four league schools that Wise has never lost to during her UF coaching career.
Ole Miss (6-5, 0-1 SEC) was led by Katie Norris, who entered the match as the SEC’s kill leader. She posted a match-high 22 kills to go along with four blocks.
Florida returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Fayetteville, Ark., to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Opening serve is set for 2 p.m. and the match will be carried live on ROCK 104 FM with Cory Stephens.
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The University of Florida is home to the 2009 NCAA Volleyball Regional. For ticket information, log on to www.GatorZone.com/tickets.
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