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Friday October 30, 2009Jaeckel Directs No. 10/12 Volleyball Past Alabama

Tuscaloosa, AL

Sophomore Florida outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) recorded a match-high 16 kills on .326 hitting and sophomore right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) turned in her NCAA Division-I leading sixth triple-double of the season to lead the No. 10/12 Gators to a 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 33-31) victory against Alabama on Friday evening in The CAVE.

 

The Gators (17-3, 11-2 Southeastern Conference) turned in one of their more balanced offensive matches, with five players recording six or more kills. Florida, however, was out-blocked 6.0-3.0 as a team and hit .287 in the match.

 

Jaeckel’s 16 kills came on .326 hitting with six digs for a match-high-tying 16.0 points. Four of those put-downs came at critical times late in the third set.

 

“I thought that Alabama played very well tonight,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We felt like, going in, that third set was going to be really tough for us. We didn’t block enough balls tonight and when we don’t do that, we struggle. I thought Kristy did a great job of leading us tonight. Sometimes you just have to dig down and gut one out, especially on the road, and I think we were able to do that tonight.”

 

Murphy surpassed Northeastern’s Jessica Tkachuk and Georgia State’s Ashley Jones for the national lead in triple doubles with her sixth of the season and the 12th of her career. She finished with 10 kills on .350 hitting with 23 assists and 15 digs for 11.0 total points.

 

Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) turned in her finest offensive match of the year with a season-best nine kills on .533 hitting to complement a squad-best two blocks.

 

Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) charted a season-high 24 digs to increase her career total to 1,944, which ranks third all-time in SEC history. Cusack also dished out six assists and recorded a service ace.

 

Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) added seven kills and six digs, while junior right-side Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) chipped in six kills.

 

Alabama raced out to an early 6-2 advantage in the first set that forced Florida to burn an early timeout to begin the match. The Gators rallied and used a kill by Murphy and an attack error by the Tide’s Brooks Webster to cut within one, 7-6. Alabama then benefitted from back-to-back Florida errors to widen its margin back to three, 9-6. The Gators once again whittled their deficit down to one, 9-8, after back-to-back kills by Ward and Rivers.

 

With Florida trailing by three, 11-8, the Gators used a 4-0 run that included back-to-back put-downs by Jaeckel and a kill by Anderson to go ahead 12-11. After two ties, Alabama ran off a pair of points to take a 15-13 lead on an Alyssa Meuth kill. The two teams began trading points until the Crimson Tide used a 3-0 run down 18-17 to go up 20-18. That Alabama run included two kills its Ashley Frazier. Florida closed out the set on a 7-0 run to claim the opening set 25-20.

 

The two teams battled evenly to begin the second set until a Murphy block and a Cusack ace broke a 4-4 tie and gave Florida a 6-4 advantage. The Crimson Tide rallied to tie the score at 6-6. Following three more ties, A Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) attack error and back-to-back Alabama kills gave the Tide a 12-9 lead. The two teams fought closely until UA, leading 13-12, got a kill and a service ace on back-to-back plays by Meuth that extended its advantage to 15-12.

 

With the Crimson Tide in front 16-13, the Gators ran off five in a row to go up 18-16. The run was capped off by a Jaeckel kill that forced an Alabama timeout. The Crimson Tide fought to tie the score at 18-18, but an Alabama service error and a Rivers kill gave Florida back its two-point lead at 20-18. The two squads began trading points again until two consecutive kills by Meuth knotted the score at 21-all. From there, a pair of errors by the Crimson Tide put Florida in front 23-21, forcing UA head coach Judy Green to use a timeout. The Gators closed out the 25-22 second-set victory on a Murphy kill and an attack error by Alabama’s Calli Johnson.

 

Florida took an early 5-3 lead in the third set, following back-to-back kills by Anderson and Jaeckel. Alabama knotted the score at 5-5 and, following another tie at 6-all, a Jaeckel put-down sparked a 3-0 run by the Gators that put them up 9-6. The teams traded points until the Gators ahead 12-10 used a put-down by Jaeckel and an Anderson service ace to take a 14-10 advantage.

 

Alabama kept clawing away at its deficit to cut within one, 15-14, on a put-down by Webster. The two teams traded points before Florida broke a 18-18 tie with successive kills by Anderson and Murphy to go up 20-18. Down 22-20, Alabama rallied with a service ace and a kill to tie the score at 22-20, forcing a timeout by the Gators. Out of the break, the Crimson Tide quickly knotted the score at 22 and, after eight more ties, back-to-back kills by Jaeckel and Ward down the line gave UF the set 33-31 and the match.

 

Alabama (6-17, 4-9 SEC) was led by Meuth, who recorded a team-high 15 kills on .419 hitting.

 

Florida returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State. Opening serve in the Newell-Grissom Building is slated for 2 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on CSS with Chris Stewart and Maria Taylor and on ROCK 104 FM with Tom Collett. The CSS broadcast can be viewed on COX Cable Channel 259 in Gainesville for subscribers of the Digital Sports Tier.

 

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

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