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Friday September 10, 2010No. 1 Penn State Posts 3-1 Win Against Gators

Gainesville, Fla.

MORE FROM SCOTT CARTER: EVEN IN LOSS, GATORS SHOW THEY BELONG

 

Three Penn State players recorded double-figure kills led by Deja McClendon’s match-high 18 kills to direct the No. 1 Nittany Lions to a 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-23) win against No. 4 Florida in front of 6,022 fans – the fifth-largest crowd in school history – on Friday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic.

 

“What an awesome atmosphere early in the season,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Penn State – they don’t win 109 straight matches without having gut checks and the poise they show, especially from the older players. They are just so solid mentally, they can keep the pressure on you. I think the difference in the match came from behind the service line.”

 

Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) turned in her 17th career triple-double and her second of the year with a team-high 14 kills on .300 hitting with 18 assists and 12 digs. Murphy also added three blocks and totaled 17.5 points for the Gators (5-1).

 

“The crowd stayed with us the whole time;  they never gave up,” Murphy said. “It gave us the confidence to keep playing hard all the way to the end. It definitely raised our energy level.”

 

Florida continued its balanced offensive attack with six players recording five kills or better. Junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) charted eight kills on .538 hitting with a season-high six blocks for 12.0 total points. Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) added eight kills on .333 hitting with two blocks, while junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) chipped in seven kills with five digs and three blocks.

 

Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) had six kills and seven digs, while sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) charted five kills.

 

Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) led Florida’s defensive effort with a career-high 21 digs.

 

For the match, the two teams were fairly even statistically. Penn State (7-0) hit .293 for the match, while the Gators hit .231. The Nittany Lions won the blocking battle 10.5-9.0.

 

The teams battled evenly to open  the first set when, tied at 2-2,  Florida fired off three consecutive points behind a pair of Nittany Lion errors and kill from Wiggs. Penn State fought back to knot the score at 5-all thanks to two kills from Katie Kabbes. Tied at 6-6, the Gators ran off four straight points, highlighted by three kills from Rivers, Anderson, and Jaeckel and a Brown service ace to bring the score to 10-6. After trading points, the Nittany Lions tied the score at 17 all on another kill from Kabbes. From there, Florida went on a 4-0 run behind two blocks and a Murphy kill, taking a 21-17 lead. The Gators closed out the set at 25-20 on a Bledsoe kill.

 

Penn State opened the second set with two consecutive kills to take an early 2-0 lead. The Gators cut the deficit to one at 4-3 behind a Nittany Lion service error, but Penn State responded with another pair of kills from Blair Brown and McClendon to widen the advantage to 6-3. The Nittany Lions held the lead until, at 15-11, the Gators battled back with a 4-0 run, highlighted by kills from Rivers and Bledsoe, to knot the score at 15-all. Penn State then ran off four consecutive points of their own, thanks to a pair of McClendon kills and a Florida error to take a 19-15 lead.  The Gators battled to within two at 22-20 on a Murphy ace, but the Nittany Lions kept rolling, closing out the set 25-21 with another McClendon kill.

 

The two teams fought closely to open the third set when Murphy recorded two consecutive kills to as the Gators tied score at 5-all. The teams traded points until, at 9-8, Penn State broke out with six consecutive points, capitalizing on three Gator errors and two aces from Alyssa D’Errico to take a 15-8 lead.  The Nittany Lions then widened the lead to 18-10 behind a pair of kills from Kabbes and Arielle Wilson. Florida responded with two kills from Jaeckel and Murphy, but Penn State easily closed out the set at 25-14 with a block from Brown and Katie Slay.

 

In the fourth set, Penn State jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead behind a pair of Brown kills, but the Gators fought back to knot the score at 5-5 on a Bledsoe kill. Tied at 6-6, the Nittany Lions responded with a 7-0 run, highlighted by three straight Brown kills and two D’Errico aces to go up 13-6. At 15-9, Florida ran off three straight points, thanks to an ace and a kill from Rivers, bringing the score to 15-12.  The Gators rallied to tie the score at 17 on a Murphy kill, but Penn State then used a pair of Gator errors, combined with four straight kills from McClendon and Fatima Balza to take a six-point lead at 23-17. Penn State looked ready to close out the set at 24-18, but Florida wasn’t done yet. The Gators broke out with five points in a row behind four kills and a Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) ace to come within one at 24-23. A kill from Brown closed out the fourth set and the match at 25-23.

 

Penn State, which won its 109th consecutive match, was led by 18 kills from McClendon and a double-double by Brown with 16 kills and 21 digs.

 

Florida takes on No. 5 Texas at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday. The match will be carried live on Sun Sports with Tom Collett and Missy Whittemore, and on GatorZone.com with Cory Stephens.

 

For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, log on to www.GatorZone.com/volleyball or, for more information, follow the team’s Twitter account @GatorZoneVB.

 

No. 2 Stanford 3, No. 5 Texas 0

 

No. 2 Stanford’s Alix Klineman recorded a match-high 10 kills and 14 points to lead the Cardinal over No. 5 Texas 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-21) on Friday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Stanford (6-0) had seven aces on the match and out hit the Longhorns .250 to -.012.

 

In addition to Klineman’s 10 kills, Rachel Williams charted 9 kills of her own, while Karissa Cook had a team-high 16 assists.

 

Texas (5-2) was led by Juliann Faucette’s six kills and Hannah Allison’s match-high 17 assists.

 

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