Friday October 16, 2009Three Gators Reach Double-Figure Kills in Sweep of Auburn
Sophomore right-side setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) turned in her 11th career triple-double and fifth this season with 11 kills on 16 swings with no errors for a .688 hitting efficiency, 19 assists and 12 digs to direct the No. 9/9 University of Florida volleyball team to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-21) win against Auburn on Friday evening in the Student Activities Center.
The Gators (13-3, 7-2 Southeastern Conference) out-blocked Auburn 10.0-4.0 and out-dug the Tigers 43-36. Four UF players had three or more blocks apiece. The Gators also placed three players in double-figure kills, led by sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward’s (Naperville, Ill.) match-high 12 put-downs on .435 hitting for a match-high 12.5 points.
“I think blocking was a key stat in tonight’s match, but so too were our serving and passing,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “When you are siding out at such a high efficiency as we were, good things happen. I thought that both Cassandra and KJ were both terrific blocking tonight.”
Murphy now ties Northeastern’s Jessica Tkachuk for the NCAA Division I lead in triple-doubles this season with five. She also added three blocks and contributed 12.5 points. Junior outside hitter/right-side Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) charted a season-high 10 kills on .643 hitting for 10.0 points. Over the past two matches, Rivers has combined for 19 total kills. Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) chipped in seven kills.
“I thought Callie swung the ball with a lot of aggressiveness and confidence tonight,” Wise said. “As she gets more used to playing over on the right side, blocks will come. She hit at such a high efficiency tonight, it was hard to keep her off the court.”
Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) recorded a match-high 14 digs in the contest to increase her career total to 1,883, which ranks third all-time in SEC history.
Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) led the Florida blocking effort for the 13th time in 16 matches this season with six blocks. Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) dished out a match-high 22 assists as part of the team’s 6-2 offensive scheme.
The two teams battled evenly to begin the opening set until back-to-back kills by Auburn’s Sarah Bullock and Lauren Mellor gave the Tigers a 9-7 advantage. The Gators rallied and knotted the score at 10-10 on a kill by Ward. Following three more ties, kills by Murphy and Jaeckel and an Auburn attack error gave Florida a 17-14 lead and forced the Tigers’ head coach Wade Benson to burn a timeout. With the Gators in front by two, 18-16, Ward notched a kill and then teamed with Anderson for a block on the next play to extend the team’s advantage to four, 20-16.
The Gators kept rolling to a 22-17 lead following consecutive kills by Murphy and Cusack heading into another Auburn timeout. With UF ahead 22-18, Florida scored three of the next four points, capped off by a Rivers ace, to close out the 25-19 victory. The Gators hit .455 in the opening frame and charted four team blocks.
Auburn raced out to an early 5-1 lead in the second set after a Florida net violation and back-row attack call on consecutive plays, causing Wise to use a timeout. The Tigers kept rolling to a 7-1 advantage before a Murphy kill stopped the Auburn scoring spree. That sparked a 4-0 run by the Gators that brought them to within three, 7-5. Florida cut within one, 9-8, following an attack error by AU’s Kelly Fidero before knotting the score at 10-10 on back-to-back kills by Rivers.
After another tie at 11, two consecutive kills by Jaeckel and a put-down by Ward gave the Gators a 14-11 lead. Auburn hung tough to tie the score at 14-14. Following one more tie, Murphy charted a kill and Anderson and Ward registered a block to put Florida up 17-15. The two teams continued to compete tightly until Florida, leading 21-20, ran off three points in a row to reach set point at 24-20. The Tigers staved off two attempts at set point until an Auburn service error from Mellor gave the Gators the 25-22 second-set win. Florida held the Tigers to a .185 hitting efficiency in the second frame.
Auburn staked to a 3-1 advantage in the third set before a Ward kill on the outside stopped the Tigers’ scoring streak. Behind the strong serving of Morgan Johns, AU was able to widened its lead to 6-2. The Tigers kept rolling to a 9-4 advantage that forced the Gators to burn an early timeout. With Florida trailing 12-5, the Gators used a 3-1 run that was capped off by a Ward kill to cut their deficit to five, 13-8.
Down 14-8, Florida used four consecutive kills to whittle its deficit down to two, 14-12. The Gators hung tough and went ahead 18-17 after a Rivers kill and two consecutive blocks that forced an Auburn timeout. After two more ties, Murphy and Ward charted back-to-back put-downs to give Florida a 21-19 edge. The two teams traded points for a bit, but the Gators had no trouble closing out the 25-21 comeback win in the third set.
Auburn (11-8, 3-5 SEC) was led by Sarah Bullock’s 10 kills on .304 hitting and Johns’ nine kills on a .400 hitting efficiency.
Florida returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Athens, Ga., to take on Georgia. Opening serve is slated for 1:30 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on ROCK 104 FM with Tom Collett.
For all of the latest information on Florida Volleyball, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/volleyball. Follow the Gators on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GatorMary.
The University of Florida is home to the 2009 NCAA Volleyball Regional. For ticket information, log on to www.GatorZone.com/tickets.
END OF REPORT