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Sunday September 19, 2010Total-Team Effort Leads Gators Past No. 18 Tennessee

Knoxville, Tenn.

Junior Florida right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) charted her 18th career triple-double with 19 kills on .410 hitting with 25 assists and 14 digs to lead the No. 3 Gators to a balanced 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17) win against No. 18 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon in Thompson-Boling Arena.

 

The Gators (8-1, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) posted their sixth win against an AVCA Top-25 team this season, improving to 6-1 vs. ranked foes in 2010. Florida out-blocked Tennessee 14.0-9.5, tying its season high for blocks of 14, also recorded in the win against then-No. 2 Nebraska on Aug. 29. The Gators hit .278 for the match and limited the Lady Vols to a .170 offensive efficiency.

 

“This is one of those matches where you can look down the roster and see the contributions out of everyone,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “From the back-row play of Callie [Rivers], to the blocking of our middles, the triple-double by Kelly [Murphy], the offense of Tangerine Wiggs and the great libero performance by Erin [Fleming], this will go down as a total-team effort tonight.”

 

Murphy, whose triple-double was her third of the season, was one of four Gators to record double-figure kill totals, as junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) just missed a double-double with 12 kills and nine digs to go along with four blocks for 14.5 points. Sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) recorded a career-high 10 kills on .400 hitting with four block assists. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) turned in her first double-double of the season with 10 kills and 17 digs.

 

Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) dished out a match-high 29 assists, while senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) was one of three Gators with double-figure digs, adding 14 scoops. Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) led Florida’s defensive effort, posting a career-high eight blocks to best her previous high of seven, while junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added five blocks.

 

The two teams battled evenly to begin the first set before the Lady Vols broke a 3-3 tie with four consecutive points, including two kills by senior outside hitter Nikki Fowler, to take a 7-3 advantage heading into a Florida timeout. Out of the break, the squads exchanged points before back-to-back kills by Wiggs and Anderson, and a service ace by Bledsoe cut the Gators’ deficit to one, 9-8. With Florida down 13-12 after a Murphy kill, Tennessee’s Leah Hinkey recorded a kill and charted an ace to extend the Lady Vols’ advantage to three, 15-12.

 

With the Gators behind 17-14, a Jaeckel kill sparked a 3-0 Florida run that was capped off by an Anderson kill that knotted the score at 17-17 and forced Tennessee head coach Rob Patrick to burn a timeout. Following four more ties, Bledsoe and Rivers posted back-to-back kills to give the Gators a 23-21 advantage. From there, a kill by UT’s Leslie Cikra and an attack error by Rivers knotted the score at 23-all. After three more ties, an attack error and a net violation call on Tennessee on back-to-back plays gave Florida the 28-26 first-set victory.

 

The two squads fought closely to begin the second set before back-to-back Tennessee service errors gave Florida an early 8-6 advantage. The teams continued trading points before the Lady Vols, down 14-11, ran off three consecutive points to knot the score at 14-14. After another tie, Wiggs charted a kill and then teamed with Anderson for a block to put the Gators ahead 17-15. Tennessee was able to tie the score at 17-17 after a service error and a ball-handling error called against Florida on successive plays.

 

Following two more ties, back-to-back kills by Jaeckel and Murphy put the Gators in front 21-19. Down 22-19, Tennessee rallied to knot the score at 22-all before a Rivers kill gave Florida a 23-22 advantage. A kill by Bledsoe brought the Gators to set point at 24-22 heading into a Lady Vol timeout. After Tennessee staved off one attempt at set point, an attack error by Cikra gave Florida the 25-23 second-set victory.

 

Behind the strong play of Murphy, the Gators raced out to an early 5-2 advantage to begin the second set. A Hinkey kill and a Murphy attack error brought the Lady Vols within one, 5-4, before a Jaeckel kill stopped UF’s scoring deficit. That put-down was the first of three consecutive points by the Gators that extended their advantage to four, 8-4. Down 9-4, Tennessee scored three in a row to cut within two, 9-7. Florida kept rolling to a 12-8 lead after a block by Anderson and Rivers. Down 13-9, the Lady Vols used two consecutive kills to spark a 4-0 run that knotted the score at 13-all. A block solo by Tennessee’s Jeter capped off that scoring run and forced a Florida timeout.

 

Following two more ties, back-to-back kills by the Lady Vols’ Hinkey and Jeter put Tennessee ahead 17-15. The Lady Vols kept rolling and an attack error by Ferrell allowed Tennessee to extend its advantage to three, 19-16. A Wiggs kill on the right side an a Tennessee attack error let the Gators whittle their deficit down to one, 19-18. The Lady Vols kept adding to their lead, going in front 23-18.  A Cikra kill capped off a 5-0 run that brought the Lady Vols to set point at 24-18. Dee Dee Harrison’s kill gave the Lady Vols a 25-19 third-set victory in a frame that featured a number of long rallies and acrobatic plays.

 

Tennessee staked to an early 3-0 advantage to start the fourth set. With the Gators down 4-1, Murphy and Jaeckel posted back-to-back kills to cut within one, 4-3 before the two squads began trading points. Trailing 7-5, Florida got a kill from Anderson who then teamed with Murphy on the next play for a block in the middle to tie the score at 7-all. After two more ties, Murphy registered back-to-back kills to give the Gators an 11-9 edge. Up 11-10, Florida used a 3-0 run, highlighted by a block from Bledsoe and Wiggs, to widen its advantage to 14-10 and force a Tennessee timeout. Out of the break, the Gators ran off three in a row, including two blocks, to move in front 17-10.  Florida had no trouble closing out the 25-17 fourth-set win to clinch the match.

 

Tennessee (9-2, 1-1 SEC) was led by Kayla Jeter’s 19 kills and 20.5 points.

 

Florida returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on No. 15 Florida State. Opening serve in Tully Gymnasium is set for 7 p.m. ET and the match will be carried on WRUF-AM 850 with Tom Collett.

 

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

 

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