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Sunday November 1, 2009Murphy Triple-Double Leads No. 10/12 Volleyball Past Mississippi State

Starkville, MS

Sophomore Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) registered her seventh triple-double of the season and her second consecutive in a three-set sweep, as the No. 10/12 Gators defeated Mississippi State in a hard-fought 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-22) match on Sunday afternoon in the Newell-Grissom Building in Starkville, Miss.

 

The Gators (18-3, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) have now posted six consecutive sweeps of SEC opponents. Florida won the blocking battle 8.0-7.0 and out-dug Mississippi State 65-62 in a match that featured six ties and nine lead changes.

 

“We fully expected Mississippi State to play well coming off their big win on Friday night,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “They did just that by playing lights-out defense and low-error volleyball. A 3-0 win this year is even more difficult to achieve. I thought our team’s play, down 23-18 in the second set, showed a lot of guts.”

 

Murphy’s second consecutive triple-double came via 11 kills on .320 hitting with 25 assists and 10 digs to complement three blocks for 12.5 points. She broke her own school single-season record in triple-doubles with seven and now has a school-record-setting 13 for her career. Murphy leads all NCAA Division I players so far this year with seven triple-dips and notched back-to-back triple-doubles for the second time in her career.

 

Four Florida players recorded double-figure kills as junior right-side Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) tallied 11 kills on 14 swings with no errors for an impressive .786 hitting efficiency. Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) charted her third triple-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs for a match-high 14.5 points. Ward also had a career-high-tying three service aces in the contest.

 

Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) recorded her seventh double-double of the season with 10 kills and 13 digs for 11.5 points.

 

Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) was one of four Gators who also recorded double-figure digs, as she posted a team-high 14 scoops. Cusack now has 1,958 digs for her career, which ranks third all-time in SEC history.

 

Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) dished out 14 assists and posted two service aces, while sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) charted a team-high four blocks, marking the 13th time this season she has recorded four or more rejections in a single match. Senior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) tied for match-high honors with four blocks.

 

Mississippi State opened the first set with a 7-5 advantage following two kills on three plays by Faith Steinwedell. From there, a Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) kill sparked a 3-0 run that was highlighted by a Rodgers ace and put the Gators ahead 8-7. Following five ties, the Bulldogs’ Ioana Demian and Caitlin Rance registered back-to-back kills to put Mississippi State ahead 14-12. Florida rallied to tie the score at 16-16 after a block by Johnson and Rivers on the outside and a kill by Jaeckel off the block, but the Bulldogs pushed their lead back out to two, 18-16, heading into a Florida timeout.

 

The Gators then put together a 4-1 run that was capped off by a kill by Anderson on an overpass that caused a Mississippi State timeout with Florida ahead 20-19. The two teams then began trading points the rest of the way until a Bledsoe kill and a net violation against the Bulldogs gave Mississippi State the 25-23 victory. Florida hit .391 in the opening frame led by Jaeckel’s six kills.

 

Florida raced to a 4-0 advantage in the second set, capped off by a pair of aces by Ward that forced an MSU timeout. Out of the break, the Bulldogs recorded back-to-back kills before the Gators rallied with two points of their own, including a resounding block by Jaeckel and Johnson, to go ahead 6-2. Florida extended its advantage out to 10-6 following a kill by Murphy and a block solo by Anderson on successive plays. From there, Mississippi State ran off four consecutive points to tie the score at 10-10 and force Wise to use a timeout. The Bulldogs continued that rally out of the break and, by the time it was finished, it was a nine-point scoring spree that put them ahead 15-10.

 

Florida cut within three, 15-12, after a Ward kill and a Mississippi State attack error. From there, the Bulldogs kept adding to their advantage to go up 19-14 on a Rivers attack error heading into a UF timeout. Mississippi State rolled to a 22-15 lead before a kill from Bledsoe and an ace by Rodgers stopped the Bulldogs’ scoring spree. With the Gators trailing 23-17, Murphy recorded a kill and State committed an attack error to bring Florida within four, 23-19, heading into an MSU timeout. The Gators then used a 5-1 run to knot the score at 24-all on a kill by Ward. After another tie at 25-all, an attack error by Ashley Newsome and a block by Anderson and Ward sealed the 27-25 comeback win for Florida in the second set.

 

The Gators broke to a 3-0 advantage in the first set and extended their advantage to 6-2 following a kill by Murphy and a powerful block by Johnson and Murphy on consecutive plays. With Florida ahead 7-3, the Bulldogs ran off three points in a row to cut within one, 7-6. Mississippi State managed to knot the score at 8-8, but Anderson had a kill and the Bulldogs committed an attack error to give the Gators a 10-8 lead. The two teams continued to battle closely with neither team taking more than a three-point advantage.

 

Ahead 15-14, Florida ran off three in a row to go up 18-14 on a kill by Murphy that forced a Mississippi State timeout. The Bulldogs then rallied to cut within one, 18-17, but Murphy and Ward followed with back-to-back put-downs to put the Gators in front 20-17. Mississippi State used a 4-1 run to knot the score at 21-all on a ball-handling error against Murphy. The two teams kept fighting until a kill by Bledsoe and an attack error by MSU’s Rance closed out the 25-22 third-set win.

 

Mississippi State (6-19, 2-13 SEC) was led by Demian’s match-hgih 12 kills. Libero Kayla Woodard added a squad-best 23 digs.

 

Florida returns to action on Friday when it returns home to play host to Georgia. Opening serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett and Missy Whittemore.

 

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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