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Sunday August 29, 2010No. 13 Gators Win Five-Set Thriller Against Second-Ranked Nebraska

Omaha, NE

Junior Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) was nearly unstoppable on Sunday, turning in her 16th career triple-double to lead the No. 13 Gators to a 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 29-31, 13-25, 15-12) upset of No. 2 Nebraska at the prestigious Runza/AVCA Showcase in the Qwest Center.

 

The Gators (2-0) posted their first victory against a top-two ranked team since defeating No. 2 Hawaii in the 2003 NCAA Championship Semifinals. With the win, Florida closes the weekend with two wins against top-10 squads, after knocking off No. 9 Iowa State on Saturday afternoon.

 

“The AVCA Showcase delivered,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “It has a history of great matches, and hopefully this one today will go down in that group. We felt like to beat Nebraska in this state, we would have to match the intensity level of not only the six players on the court, but also of the Husker fans. This team really did a great job of that today.”

 

Murphy tied her career high with 20 kills on .514 hitting with 23 assists, 10 digs and three blocks. Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) charted her first double-double of the 2010 season with 12 kills and a career-high 15 digs to go along with five blocks. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) added 12 kills on .300 hitting with three service aces and seven digs.

 

“I think we did a really good job of staying calm and not getting wrapped up in the atmosphere,” Murphy said. “We knew that we had a chance to work hard if we worked hard and stayed focused.”

 

Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) dished out a career-high 31 assists, while sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) added seven kills and four blocks. Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) chipped in six kills and seven blocks, while junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) also had six kills with five blocks.

 

Bledsoe, Murphy and Rivers all were named to the AVCA Showcase All-Tournament Team.

 

The Gators raced out to a quick 5-0 lead to open the first set, using four kills and a Fleming ace to stake to that advantage. Three kills on the next four plays by Nebraska cut Florida’s lead to three, 6-3. The two teams traded points until the Gators ran off three in a row, powered by a block solo from Jaeckel and a Murphy ace to extend Florida’s advantage to five, 11-6. The Gators kept rolling to a 15-9 edge following a Jaeckel kill and an attack error by the Huskers. Nebraska ended UF’s scoring spree with two consecutive points before a resounding block on the right by Anderson and Wiggs sent the Gators into a timeout up 16-11.

 

With Florida ahead 17-13, a kill by Murphy and two consecutive aces from Rivers widened the Gators’ margin to seven, 20-13. Three kills in a row by the Huskers brought them within four, 21-16, forcing Wise to burn a timeout. From there, Nebraska scored three of the next four points to come as close as three, 22-19. After trading points, back-to-back put-downs by Nebraska’s Lindsey Licht and Brooke Delano brought the Huskers within two, 23-21. A kill by Jaeckel on the outside brought UF to set point at 24-21 before a Wiggs kill gave the Gators a 25-22 opening-set win. Florida hit .353 in the opening set, recording four service aces and three total team blocks.

 

Nebraska scored the first three points of the second set before three consecutive Florida kills, including two from Anderson, knotted the score at 3-all. The Huskers responded with three kills in a row before Florida used a 5-0 run to jump in front 8-6. Out of a timeout, Nebraska ran off five consecutive points to reclaim the lead at 11-8 after a block solo by Licht. Murphy registered a kill and then teamed with Bledsoe on the next play for a block to bring the Gators within one, 11-10. After the squads traded points, a block by Bledsoe and Wiggs on the right side tied the score at 12-12. Following another tie at 13, Jaeckel rocketed an ace down the middle of the court to give Florida back the lead at 14-13.

 

Rivers and Bledsoe followed suit with back-to-back kills to put the Gators up 16-13. Up 16-14, Florida ran off three points in a row, including two blocks and a Wiggs kill to go ahead 18-14. The squads exchanged points before back-to-back kills by Delano and Licht cut Nebraska’s deficit to three, 21-18, heading into a UF timeout. Out of the break, a Tara Mueller kill sparked a 3-0 run by the Huskers to tie the score at 21-21. Two kills in three plays by Murphy, coupled with a Nebraska attack error brought the Gators to set point at 24-22. A kill by Wiggs off the block on the right side gave Florida a 25-22 second-set victory. The Gators had six blocks in the second frame.

 

Florida and Nebraska battled evenly to begin the third set before the Huskers took a 5-3 advantage after a kill by Allison McNeal and Murphy’s first attack error of the match. With the Gators trailing 6-3, Florida used a 4-0 run aided by three Nebraska attack errors, to take a 7-6 lead that forced Huskers head coach John Cook to burn a timeout. Following eight ties, a Murphy service error and a kill by the Huskers’ Morgan Broekhuis gave Nebraska a 16-14 edge. The Huskers kept rolling to an 18-15 lead before a Bledsoe kill and an attack error from the Huskers brought UF within one, 18-17. The Gators were able to knot the score at 19-all following a block by Anderson and Rivers. Two kills in a row by Nebraska sent the Huskers ahead 21-19, causing Wise to burn a timeout. Out of the break, a Rivers kill on the outside and a back-row blocking call against the Huskers tied the score at 21-all.

 

From there, Nebraska ran off two kills in a row to go up 23-21. A resounding Murphy kill and a four-hits call on the Huskers tied the score at 23. Bledsoe and Jaeckel posted a block to bring UF to match point, but Nebraska staved off that attempt and again knotted the score, this time at 24-all. A Murphy attack error gave Nebraska a set point at 25-24 before a Jaeckel kill tied the score at 25. Another Jaeckel kill, this one off the block, put Florida ahead 26-25, but the Huskers staved off another attempt at the match. The two teams continued battling but Nebraska broke a 29-all tie with two consecutive points, including a set-winning kill by Mueller on the outside to take a 31-29 third-set victory.

 

The two squads battled closely to start the fourth set before Nebraska took an early 8-4 advantage heading into a timeout. With Florida behind 9-4, Bledsoe and Wiggs recorded back-to-back kills to spark a 3-0 run and bring the Gators within two, 9-7. From there, behind the strong serving of Mueller, Nebraska ran off seven consecutive points to take a 16-7 lead into a timeout. The Huskers lead 18-7 before a Rivers kill stopped Nebraska’s scoring spree. Nebraska had little trouble in closing out a 25-13 fourth-set win.

 

The Huskers scored the first three points of the deciding fifth set before the Gators rallied to knot the score at 3-3, including two put-downs from Jaeckel during that stretch. A kill by Nebraska’s Hannah Werth and an illegal rotation call against Florida allowed the Huskers to reclaim the lead at 5-3. The two teams began trading points before a Wiggs kill and an attack error by NU’s Licht knotted the score at 7-all. Three Nebraska kills allowed the Huskers to go up 10-7 heading into a timeout by the Gators. With Florida down, 11-7, Rivers charted back-to-back kills to bring UF within 11-9, forcing Cook to use a timeout. Three consecutive Nebraska attack errors allowed the Gators to claim their first lead of the set at 12-11. With Florida up 13-12, Murphy recorded a kill and then the Gators closed out the match with by Anderson and Murphy.

 

Nebraska (1-1) was led by 18 kills on .464 hitting by Lindsey Licht.

 

Florida returns to action on Friday when it plays host to the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. The Gators will face Albany at 12:30 p.m. ET in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center and the match will be carried live on GatorZone.com with Cory Stephens.

 

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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