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Saturday August 26, 2000Volleyball Falls to Penn State 3-1

Gainesville, FL

All-Tournament Selection McCray

An impressive offensive effort was almost enough for a young Florida volleyball team to take the defending National Champion Penn State squad to the limit in the consolation match of the State Farm Volleyball Classic Saturday evening at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

The ninth-ranked Gators (0-2) out-blocked and out-dug the No. 2 Lions (1-1), 12.5-9 and 76-72, in the four game loss (7-15, 15-8, 5-15, 14-16). UF had four players record double-digit kills, including junior Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis), who careered for the second straight night with 17. She also led all players with a personal-best 19 digs. Senior Jerilyn Hattendorf (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) also had 19.

"We can play with the likes of a Penn State team," Coach Mary Wise said. " They are historically one of the best blocking and digging teams. If we can dig and block with the likes of Penn State, then we can compete with any team in the country."

Sophomore Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) was one short of tying a career high with a match-high eight block assists. The middle blocker was named to the all-tournament team after putting down 15 kills for a .323 hitting efficiency in the match. Freshman Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) was in on six and had 10 kills.

The Gator defense held PSU to a .178 hitting efficiency, but 34 unforced hitting errors plagued UF's offense. UF averaged a .176 attack percentage.

Wise did see improvement from Friday's 3-1 loss to No. 13 Colorado State, which claimed the championship by upsetting top-ranked UCLA in a five-gamer. "Our team got a lot better from last night to today. If that continues from this point on, our future is bright."

Mishka Levy (Stafford, Texas) led Penn State with 20 kills on 49 attempts for the second-straight night. The all-tournament selection also recorded 14 digs and four blocks.

UF hosts the SunTrust Invitational Sept. 1-2. The Gators open with UNLV Friday at 2 p.m. and also play Ball State that night at 7:30. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the Ball State match live.

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