Sunday October 25, 2009Murphy, Service Runs Pace No. 10 Volleyball Past Ole Miss
Sophomore Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) recorded a match-high 14 kills on .407 hitting and the No. 10/11 Gators used several lengthy service runs Sunday to notch a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-16) win against Ole Miss in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Gators (16-3, 10-2 Southeastern Conference) put together four service runs of four or more points during the course of the match and out-blocked Ole Miss 9.0-2.0 to mark the eighth time in the team’s last nine matches that it has won the blocking battle.
“We were scoring points based on some really good serving and some really good blocking today,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Since the last time Ole Miss played us, they have won every match in which they out-blocked the opposition. I think the fact that they only had two blocks speaks to the way we played offensively. We are playing much better in the second half of the season than we did when we played Ole Miss the first time around. Our whole game plan is just to continue to get better.”
Murphy recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 14 kills on .407 hitting with 15 assists to complement three blocks for a match-high 17.0 points. Murphy has recorded three or more blocks in five of her last six matches.
“I thought that our blocking really gave us some good momentum out there,” Murphy said. “The last time we played Ole Miss, they out-blocked us. We’ve been working on our blocking really hard in practice. We’ve worked on getting good position and I thought that we did a really good job of that today.”
Murphy was one of four Gators to record three blocks in the match as middle blockers Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.), and sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) added three rejections apiece. Johnson finished with five kills on eight swings with no errors for a .625 hitting efficiency.
Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) contributed six kills and six digs for 7.5 points, while Ward added six kills and four digs to complement her three blocks for 8.0 points.
Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) turned in a match-high 14 digs to increase her career total to 1,920 scoops, which ranks third all-time in SEC history. Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) dished out a match-high 21 assists to go along with seven digs.
Florida raced out to a 6-2 advantage in the opening set behind the strong serving of Rodgers, but Ole Miss used a five-point service run by Caitlin Weiss to highlight a 6-0 run that put the Rebels in front 8-6. A block solo by junior right-side Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) sparked a 4-1 Florida run that allowed it to reclaim the advantage at 12-9 on a block by Anderson and Jaeckel.
The Gators kept rolling to a 15-12 advantage after a block by Johnson and Rivers and a kill by Murphy on successive plays heading into an Ole Miss timeout. That was the beginning of a six-point service run by Rodgers that catapulted Florida to a 20-12 advantage. The two teams traded points for much of the remainder of the set before the Gators took a 25-18 opening-frame victory.
Florida opened up to a 5-1 lead in the second set, capped off by a Jaeckel ace. The Gators kept rolling to a 10-3 advantage after a Murphy ace and an Anderson kill that forced Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin to burn a timeout. With Florida ahead 15-8, Jaeckel served four consecutive points to widen the Gators’ edge to 19-8. UF took a 25-13 second-set win, capped off by a kill from junior right-side Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.)
Florida broke a 3-3 tie in the third set with five consecutive kills behind the serving of Cusack. Murphy and Ward recorded two put-downs apiece during that stretch. The two teams began trading points until a Jaeckel kill commenced a 4-0 run by the Gators that put them in front 16-9. With Florida up 17-10, Cusack served three consecutive points to push the lead to 20-10. The Gators cruised to the 25-16 third-set victory.
Ole Miss (8-14, 2-10 SEC) was led by junior middle blocker Miranda Kitts’ team-high five kills. The Rebels had five players with four or more put-downs in the match.
Florida returns to action on Friday, when it travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face Alabama. Opening serve is slated for 8 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.
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