Sunday October 18, 2009Murphy Leads No. 9/9 Volleyball to Sweep of Georgia
Sophomore Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) registered a match-high 15 kills on .542 hitting with 16 assists and seven digs to lead the No. 9/9 Gator volleyball team to one of its most complete wins of the season, 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-11) decision against Southeastern Conference rival Georgia on Sunday in the Ramsey Student Center.
Murphy finished the weekend with 26 total kills for an average of 4.33 kills per set on .600 hitting over the two-match stretch. She also averaged 5.83 assists per set, 3.17 digs per set and 1.00 blocks per set.
“We played this entire match at the right intensity level and the right effort level,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I thought both our offense and our defense played at a pretty high level tonight.”
Impressively, Florida (14-3, 8-2 SEC) hit .368 in the match, holding The Bulldogs to an .087 hitting efficiency. The Gators were dominant at the net, out-blocking Georgia 11.5-2, marking the largest blocking advantage of the season.
“Good things happen when we block balls,” Wise said. “We’ve worked so hard all season long on blocking and our players have really bought into that.”
Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) tallied nine kills on .421 hitting with six digs and two blocks for 10.5 total points. Senior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) recorded a match-high six blocks, while junior right-side Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) turned in a career-high five blocks.
Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) came up with a match-high 12 digs to increase her career total to 1,895 career digs. She is five scoops away from becoming the first player in school history to reach 1,900 career digs.
Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) dished out a team-high 24 assists, while sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had four blocks for the 11th time this season.
Florida broke a 5-5 tie at the beginning of the first set with a Johnson kill in the middle that sparked a 3-0 run by the Gators and put them ahead 8-5. UF stretched its lead to four points, 11-7, following a Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) kill and a Georgia attack error. The two teams then traded points until the Bulldogs, trailing 16-12, ran off three in a row to cut within one, 16-15, after a kill by Briana Bahr. From there, a Ward kill ignited a 3-0 Gator scoring spree that forced Georgia head coach Joel McCartney to burn a timeout down 19-15.
Out of the break, the Bulldogs’ Valentina Gonzalez registered back-to-back kills to trim their deficit to two, 19-17, and cause Wise to use a timeout. With Florida in front 20-17 after an Anderson kill, the Bulldogs ran off two straight points to cut within one, 20-19. With the Gators up by only one, 21-20, back-to-back kills by Jaeckel and Murphy pushed Florida’s lead back out to three, 23-20, heading into a Georgia timeout. Florida closed out the 25-22 first-set win as Ward slammed down a resounding kill on the outside. Both teams hit at a high efficiency in the first frame as Florida hit .457, while Georgia hit .448.
Florida raced to a 5-2 advantage in the first set, capped off by a Rodgers ace and a Murphy kill. The Bulldogs whittled their deficit down to one, 5-4, and then the two teams began trading points. Back-to-back Georgia errors allowed the Gators to widen their advantage to three, 10-7.
Florida extended its advantage to five, 15-10, following two consecutive errors by the Bulldogs that forced McCartney to use a timeout. With the Gators up 15-11, Murphy registered three consecutive kills to put her team ahead 18-11. Murphy recorded a kill and an ace on successive plays to put Florida ahead 20-13. UF cruised to the 25-16 second-set win after a Johnson kill and block on successive plays.
The Gators sprinted to a 5-1 lead in the third set on the strength of three consecutive blocks. Georgia rallied to cut within three, 6-3, and continued to battle closely. Florida managed to widen its lead to 9-4 after a Johnson kill and an attack error by the Bulldogs that forced a UGA timeout.
With the Gators ahead 7-4, Florida ran off seven consecutive points to extend its edge to 10, 14-4. Down 15-5, the Bulldogs ran off two in a row to cut within eight, 15-7. UF kept rolling to a 19-8 lead after a resounding block on the right side by Johnson and Rivers. The Gators cruised to the 25-11 third-set victory to clinch their second consecutive sweep after downing Auburn on Friday evening.
Georgia (11-9, 2-7 SEC) was led by nine kills each from Bahr and Erika Clarke.
Florida returns to action on Friday when it returns home to face Arkansas. Opening serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on Sun Sports with Larry Vettel and Missy Whittemore and on WRUF-AM 850 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.
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