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Wednesday December 2, 2009Volleyball Opens NCAA Play Thursday vs. CofC

Gainesville, FL

GATOR MATCH-DAY VS. COLL. OF CHARLESTON

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COLL. OF CHARLESTON

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The No. 14/15 University of Florida volleyball team opens play in its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance on Thursday when it plays host to the College of Charleston. Opening serve in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on GatorVision Online and WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett and Missy Whittemore.

 

FIU (31-3) and Miami (18-2) meet in the first match of the day, which is slated for a 5 p.m. ET start and will be aired live on GatorVision Online. All matches will feature live stats courtesy of GameTracker and the video stream on GatorVision Online will be free for all matches.

 

Ticket packages (both days) may be purchased in advance for $10 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens and $4 for children 12 and under. Fans may contact the Gator Ticket Office at (352) 375-4683 or online at www.GatorZone.com/tickets. The Main Gator Ticket Office is located between Gates 1 and 2 on the west side of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and is open Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

 

Single-session tickets may also be purchased beginning on the day of the first match for $7 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens and $4 for children 12 and under. The ticket windows are located at Gate 1.

 

Gates open an hour before the first match of each day. They will open at 4 p.m. ET Thursday and 6 p.m. ET Friday.

 

This marks the 18th time in the last 19 years that the Gators (23-5, 16-4 Southeastern Conference) have played host to opening-round contests. The four participating teams are vying for a berth in the Gainesville Regional, which will take place Dec. 11-12 at the O’Connell Center.

 

“Once you get to the NCAA Tournament, records, rankings and conference titles become a non-factor,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Everybody has the same record and it all starts here on Thursday night.”

 

Florida is in the midst of its 19th consecutive 20-win season and has defeated two top-25 teams in the past week, beating No. 10 Kentucky and No. 25 Notre Dame. The Gators lead the SEC in hitting percentage with a .288 clip and rank second in the league in kills per set (14.56) and assists per set (13.31). Additionally, Florida leads the conference in service aces (1.35).

 

Sophomore outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) leads the way offensively for the Gators, ranking eighth in the SEC with 3.25 kills per set. Sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) follows with 3.07 kills per set, which ranks 10th in the SEC.

 

Sophomore setter/right-side Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) leads the nation with nine triple-doubles so far this season and ranks third in the SEC this year with a .346 clip. She also is tied for ninth in the SEC with 6.78 assists per set.

 

Senior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.), the school’s all-time career digs leader, ranks second in the SEC with 4.63 digs per set. She has 2,092 career scoops and needs 35 more to become the SEC’s all-time career digs leader.

 

Sophomore middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) is second in the SEC with 1.25 blocks per set.

 

The College of Charleston (18-12) is coming off of its sixth Southern Conference Tournament title in the past eight years, having defeated top-seeded Furman in the championship game to earn the SoCon’s automatic NCAA bid. The Cougars have made five previous NCAA appearances and have an all-time record of 1-5 in the tournament, including a first-round loss to Florida in 2007.

 

Junior setter Cole Dawley is a first-team All-SoCon selection, leading the team in assists per set (9.77) and hitting percentage (.337) and ranking second in digs per set (2.64). She has tallied two triple-doubles this season. Sophomore middle blocker Elyse Chubb also was a first-team all-conference pick, ranking second on the team with a .311 hitting percentage and 2.12 kills per set. She also averages 0.97 blocks per set.

 

The Gators are 49-19 (.721) all-time in NCAA Championship action, including a 48-18 (.727) mark under Wise’s direction. Florida has advanced to NCAA regional action in 17 of Wise’s previous 18 seasons and has reached the national semifinal on seven occasions during that span.

 

Complete results and a recap of Thursday’s match will be available at www.GatorZone.com/volleyball.

 

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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