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Saturday August 28, 2010Volleyball Knocks Off No. 9 Iowa State

Omaha, NE

The No. 13 University of Florida volleyball team benefitted from a total-team effort, using a number of key individual contributions and posting 11 team blocks to knock off No. 9 Iowa State, 3-1 (25-22, 25-21, 10-25, 25-20) Saturday in the opening match of the 2010 season at the prestigious Runza/AVCA Showcase in the Qwest Center.

 

The Gators (1-0) notched their seventh consecutive victory in a season-opening match, improving to 19-8 all-time in lid-lifters and 3-0 all-time vs. Iowa State.

 

“I don’t know too many first matches where the play is very pretty, and we showed that at times,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We are such a team in progress and I think a lot of the rallies we won were indicative of that. There were times where Iowa State really got on a roll. We just have to grind it out – that’s who we are and that’s what we were able to do today.”

 

Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) led Florida’s offensive attack with 10 kills on .364 hitting, just missing a double-double with nine digs. Rivers was one of five Gators to record seven or more kills. Sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) turned in a career-high nine kills with five block assists, while junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) added eight kills and five digs.

 

Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) posted seven kills and five blocks, while junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) had seven kills, 26 assists, eight digs and two block solos. Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) charted a career-high 18 digs.

 

“Lauren having five blocks today was huge and our pin hitters really came through for us,” Wise said.

 

Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) totaled 13 assists, while junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added three blocks.

 

As a team, the Gators out-hit Iowa State .195-.180, with Florida hitting better than .300 in both the first and fourth sets of the match. Florida out-blocked Iowa State 11-9.5, marking the Gators’ most blocks since posting 12 against FIU in the 2009 NCAA Second Round.

 

Iowa State quickly raced out to a 7-3 advantage in the first set and extended their edge out to 9-5 before Florida cut within three, 11-8, after a kill by Bledsoe, and a block by Bledsoe and Wiggs on subsequent plays. The Cyclones pushed their lead back to five at 13-8 following back-to-back errors by the Gators. A Wiggs put-down and a back-row attack violation called against Iowa State allowed Florida to cut within two, 14-12. Two Murphy kills on three plays, including a dominant put-down off an overpass, knotted the score at 15-all.

 

A kill by the Cyclones’ Victoria Henson and two consecutive aces by Iowa State pushed its lead out to 18-15. With the Gators trailing 20-17, Bledsoe registered a kill and a back-row block was called on Iowa State to bring Florida within one, 20-19. After the two teams traded points, Jaeckel and Anderson posted back-to-back kills to tie the score at 21-all. Two kills in a row from Jaeckel gave Florida its first lead of the set at 23-22. An attack error by the Cyclones and a Murphy kill on the right gave the Gators the 25-22 first-set victory. After a difficult offensive performance to start the set, Florida ended up hitting .324 for the frame.

 

The Cyclones scored the first five points of the second set before an attack error by Iowa State stopped the scoring steak. The Gators then ran off five consecutive points, capped off by a Rivers ace to knot the score at 5-5 heading into an Iowa State timeout. The Gators kept rolling out of the break to jump ahead 8-6 after a put-down by Anderson. Florida continued adding to its lead to take an 11-7 advantage on a Rivers kill. The two teams began trading points before Iowa State cut within two at 16-14.

 

After again trading points, two consecutive kills by the Cyclones brought them as close as one, 18-17. A block solo by Murphy stopped that scoring spree. With Florida up 19-18, Rivers posted back-to-back kills to put the Gators ahead 21-18 heading into an ISU timeout. Florida used back-to-back blocks to bring it to set point at 24-20 before a kill by Wiggs on the right side gave UF the 25-21 second-set victory. The Gators held Iowa State to a .000 hitting efficiency for the second frame.

 

Iowa State staked to a 7-2 advantage to begin the third set, thanks to three early blocks by the Cyclones. They continued rolling to a 12-5 advantage before back-to-back kills by Murphy and Rivers stopped Florida’s drought at 12-7. Iowa State then pushed its lead out to 15-8 following an attack error from Bledsoe. The Gators struggled to get anything going offensively as the Cyclones went ahead 20-9, forcing Wise to burn a timeout. Iowa State won the third set 25-10, using a 6.5-0 blocking advantage in the frame.

 

The two squads battled evenly to begin the fourth set before back-to-back kills by Iowa State gave it a 6-4 advantage. Florida rallied to knot the score at 7-7 before the Cyclones went on a 3-0 run to go up 10-7. Trailing 12-9, the Gators rallied to cut within one, 12-11, after a Rivers kill. Iowa State responded with three consecutive points, including a let-serve ace to go in front 15-11. Two kills by Rivers sparked a 3-0 run by Florida with Murphy serving to cut Florida’s deficit to one, 15-14.

 

With the Gators trailing 16-14, Bledsoe recorded a kill and the Cyclones committed an attack error to tie the score at 16-all. Bledsoe and Wiggs followed with a resounding block on the right side and Rivers registered a put-down to give Florida an 18-16 edge. After Iowa State came within one at 19-18, junior outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Anderson drilled consecutive kills to put the Gators ahead 21-18. A kill by Wiggs and an ace from Fleming brought UF ahead 23-18. The teams traded points the rest of the set, with a Murphy kill closing out the 25-20 victory.

 

Iowa State (0-1) was led by 11 kills from senior outside hitter Victoria Henson and 10 from sophomore middle blocker Jamie Straube.

 

Florida returns to action on Sunday when it faces No. 2 Nebraska. Opening serve is set for 5:30 p.m. ET in the Qwest Center and the match will be carried live on CBS College Sports and WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett.

 

For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/volleyball. Follow Florida Volleyball on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GatorMary.

 

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