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Friday November 27, 2009Mary Wise Earns 600th Win at UF; Gators Sweep Gamecocks

Gainesville, FL

Sophomore Florida outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) recorded a match-high 11 kills on .611 hitting Friday and the No. 15/15 Gators turned in their highest team hitting percentage (.519) since Sept. 5, 2008 in a 3-0 (25-14, 25-8, 25-12) win against South Carolina to cap off the 2009 Southeastern Conference slate at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.


Florida head coach Mary Wise, in her 19th season at the helm of the program, earned her 600th victory at UF, giving her a 600-66 (.901) record at Florida. The 600 wins since 1991 mark the most of any NCAA Division I volleyball program during that stretch.


The Gators (22-5, 16-4 SEC) bested their previous season-best hitting percentage (.474), notching a .519 clip against the Gamecocks and marking the team’s best hitting efficiency since a .521 clip against Jacksonville on Sept. 5, 2008.


Florida had five players with six or more kills apiece as part of a balanced offensive attack and out-blocked South Carolina 8.0-2.0 in the match.


“We understand that this South Carolina team looks very different than the first time we played them, because of injuries,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The difference for us this time was how much patience we showed. We only hit four balls out of bounds today. The offense was at a pretty high level – to hit .500 means you must be doing something right and I thought we did a lot of things right today.”


Jaeckel’s 11 kills came on 18 swings with no errors for a .611 hitting efficiency to go with five digs and two service aces for a match-high 13.5 points. Sophomore setter/right-side Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) charted nine kills on 14 swings with no errors for a .643 efficiency clip to go with a match-high 28 assists and seven digs.


Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) added nine kills on .444 hitting to complement two aces and four digs, while junior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) added seven kills on .385 hitting.


Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) charted six kills on six swings with no errors for a 1.000 hitting efficiency with two blocks, while junior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.), who earned her second consecutive start, turned in a season-high-tying five blocks for the second match in a row.


Senior libero Elyse Cusack, whom Wise presented a game ball prior to the match for achieving her 2,000th career dig against LSU, finished with a match-high 14 digs to increase her career digs total to 2,069. She needs 58 more digs to become the SEC’s all-time career digs leader.


Friday’s contest against South Carolina marked the first match of a two-day, two-match stretch that concludes at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday vs. No. 25 Notre Dame in the O’Connell Center. Any fan that shows his/her Florida/FSU football ticket receives free admission to the match.


“It has been our goal since the beginning of the year to be playing our best volleyball at the end of the season,” Wise said. “Tomorrow night, we have a challenge against a top-25 team. Notre Dame presents some match-up problems, but it’s another opportunity to get better.”


The Gators raced to a 7-2 advantage to begin the first set after a South Carolina attack error and a Murphy kill. Florida kept adding to its lead to go up 16-7 following back-to-back kills by Rivers and Jaeckel. The two teams then traded points until the Gators, leading 22-13 after a kill by the Gamecocks’ Meredith Moorhead, closed out the set on a 3-1 run that included three kills by Anderson to take a 25-14 opening-set victory.


Florida stormed out to an 11-3 lead to commence the second frame following a Jaeckel service ace that capped off a lengthy service run. The Gators kept rolling to a 15-4 advantage after an Anderson block solo and kill on successive plays. From there, Florida closed out the set on a 10-4 run thanks to a lengthy Cusack service run to give the Gators a 25-8 second-set win.


Back-to-back kills by Murphy, a service ace from Jaeckel and a Ward kill allowed Florida to run out to a 10-3 advantage at the beginning of the third set. UF kept rolling to a 14-5 lead on a Rivers kill that sparked the beginning of a strong serving stretch by Murphy. With the Gators up 15-7, the team ran off four in a row, capped by a Jaeckel kill that extended their lead to 12, 19-7. Florida easily closed out the 25-12 third-set win on a powerful kill by Murphy on the right side.


South Carolina (14-16, 5-15 SEC) was led by Moorhead’s six kills. Senior libero Sarah Cline had just three digs in the match, but became the school’s all-time career digs leader during the course of the match.


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