Friday November 6, 2009No. 9/11 Volleyball Efficient in Sweep of Georgia
Four Florida players hit better than .500 for the first time since Sept. 5, 2008 and hitters Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) combined for 23 kills as the No. 9/11 Gators posted a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-14) win against border-rival Georgia on Friday evening in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Gators (19-3, 13-2 Southeastern Conference) charted their seventh consecutive sweep of a league opponent, marking the longest such stretch since the 2007 squad posted nine straight sweeps of SEC foes. Florida hit an impressive .474 in the match, the highest team hitting percentage by the Gators since a sizzling .521 clip against Jacksonville on Sept. 5, 2008. That match against the Dolphins also marked the last time four Gators hit better than .500 in a single contest.
“Georgia had been playing very well as of late and we felt that the Georgia team we played tonight was going to be much improved than the first time we played them,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Fortunately, we brought our ‘A’ game today. In terms of our offense, we hit .474, blocked well and were very aggressive behind the service line. We continued to serve aggressively and were very efficient offensively. That was the difference in the match.”
Florida turned in eight service aces in the match, tied for its second-most of the season, and out-blocked Georgia 9.0-2.0 in the match. Including the first meeting between the two teams, the Gators finish the 2009 series with the Bulldogs, holding a combined 20.5-4.0 advantage in team blocks against Georgia this year.
Murphy led the Gators with a team-high 12 kills on .579 hitting with 17 assists and three blocks for a match-high 13.0 points. Jaeckel followed with 11 kills on .526 hitting with eight digs for 12.5 points.
“We felt Kelly could get kills on the right-side tonight,” Wise said. “I thought Brynja [Rodgers] had one of her best setting matches and gave really good looks to all of our hitters. It starts with that first contact - whoever is digging, Brynja making the second pass and then Kelly delivering.”
Senior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) charted five kills on .500 hitting with a team-high four blocks, while sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) tallied five kills on eight swings with no errors for a .625 hitting efficiency to complement three blocks. Anderson tied her career high with three service aces in the match. Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) also added five kills.
Junior setter Brynja Rodgers (Iowa City, Iowa) dished out a team-high 19 assists, while senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) tied for the match-high with eight digs. Cusack now has 1,966 digs in her collegiate career and needs 71 more scoops to tie former Kentucky standout Jenni Casper for second-place all-time in SEC history.
The two teams battled evenly to begin the first set until Florida, leading 6-5 after a kill by Georgia’s Ann Dylla, ran off four consecutive points to take a 10-5 advantage after a Cusack service ace. The Bulldogs hung tough, cutting within three, 12-9, before the Gators used a 5-1 scoring spree to go ahead 17-10 after back-to-back Georgia attack errors. The Gators kept rolling to a 20-12 advantage thanks to a kill by Murphy and a Dylla attack error. The two teams then traded points until an Anderson kill at set point gave Florida the opening frame 25-16. Remarkably, the Gators did not commit an attack error in the opening set, hitting .583 with 14 kills on 24 swings.
After a number of early ties characterized the start of the second set, Florida broke a 10-10 tie coming out of a timeout with three consecutive points, including kills by Ward and Anderson to move ahead 13-10. Georgia hung tough and tied the score at 16-all on a service ace by Erika Clark. Back-to-back kills by Jaeckel and Ward allowed the Gators to inch in front 18-16. After the teams traded points for a short time, Florida – leading 21-19 – scored three in a row to reach set point at 24-19. A Jaeckel kill capped off a 25-20 second-set win.
Florida broke an early 4-4 tie in the third set and rolled to an early 11-6 advantage after an Anderson kill and a Georgia attack error. With the Gators holding a 14-8 lead, UF rattled off five in a row, highlighted by a pair of Anderson service aces to go up 19-8. Florida had no trouble closing out the 25-14 third-set victory.
Georgia (14-11, 5-9 SEC) was led by Simone May’s team-high 10 kills, while setter Kathleen Gates dished out a match-high 21 assists.
Florida returns to action on Sunday when it plays host to Auburn. Opening serve in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is slated for 1:30 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.
Florida Head Coach Mary Wise
“Georgia had been playing very well as of late, but since we last saw them, they had won three of their last four matches and took LSU to four sets. We felt that the Georgia team we played tonight was going to be much improved than the first time we played them. Fortunately, we brought our ‘A’ game today. In terms of our offense, we hit .474, blocked well and were very aggressive behind the service line. We continued to serve aggressively and were very efficient offensively.That was the difference in the match.”
On only having six hitting errors in the match…:
“Two of them we blocks, so we only hit four of them out-of-bounds. It’s really good patience, because Georgia has been blocking extremely well as of late. For us to only be blocked twice reflects some of the maturing process of our offense.”
On sophomore right-side/setter Kelly Murphy’s match-high 12 kills …
“We felt Kelly could get kills on the right side. I thought Brynja [Rodgers] had one of her best setting matches and gave really good looks to all of our hitters. It starts with that first contact, whoever is hitting or digging, Brynja making the second pass and then Kelly delivering.”
On Florida’s eight service aces in the match …
“We have always wanted to be a team that on any given server we could make a run. We have a number of different players capable of doing that now. Having six different players serving aces is pretty good. It’s not by coincidence - we’ve grown more comfortable as the season goes on.”
#15 Kristina Johnson, Sr., MB
On tonight’s match:
“It was fun. We just played Georgia just a few weeks ago, so we were kind of familiar with their team and their primary hitters. We just had our game plan, and we did our best to execute it.”
On how it helps seeing a team the second time around …
“I think it always helps when we play teams that we’ve already played. We try to remember what they did last time, what we did last time and the kind of things we can do better the second time.”
#6 Kristy Jaeckel, So., OH
On the team’s aggressive attacks tonight …
“This is usually a big thing that we try to work on—taking big swings, also making sure you make the right choice. It’s at the point in the season to take the big swings against SEC competition.”
On facing a team the second time around …
“I think, at the same time, it’s sometimes hard the second time around. You can get comfortable and also complacent at times. As a team we just have to remember to come out and as hard as we did the first time.”
END OF REPORT