Sunday October 3, 2010Volleyball Serves Up Sweep of Arkansas
Junior Florida outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) recorded a match-high 11 kills on .524 hitting and junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) served up a career-high eight aces en route to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-17) win against Arkansas on Sunday in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Gators (12-1, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) hit .408 on the match, marking the team’s second-highest hitting efficiency of the season and extending Florida’s streak of consecutive matches hitting better than .300 to four. The Gators charted 12 service aces in the match, marking their most in a contest since serving 12 aces against Auburn on Nov. 9, 2008.
“The story of this match was definitely our offense,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “In the 76 swings we took, we only hit one ball out of bounds. I thought that our players did a really nice job attacking the ball. If you look at Kristy Jaeckel’s numbers and Lauren Bledsoe’s numbers, not only did they not hit balls out of bounds, but they weren’t blocked either. We felt it wasn’t our best defensive performance and that we left some blocks out there, but give credit to Arkansas for that.”
Murphy finished with a match-high 14.5 points, posting a career-high eight service aces. Her performance tied for the second-most service aces in a single match in school history.
“Kelly certainly got into a groove there with her serving,” Wise said. “Kelly was third on our team in kills tonight, but she still comes out our leading point-scorer. That’s how valuable she is to our team.”
Aury Cruz holds Florida’s all-time single-match record for service aces with nine, accomplished against South Carolina on Oct. 26, 2003. Murphy’s service output marked just the fifth time in school history that a player has served eight or more aces in a single match and just the second time since the advent of rally scoring.
“I think once I got the first two [aces], it just built my confidence up,” Murphy said. “I just went back there and felt pretty comfortable taking a harder rip at it. I think that our team saw that the harder we serve, the better chance we are going to have at getting our opponents out of system. We were being really aggressive with our serving today.”
Jaeckel’s 11 kills came on 21 swings with no errors for a .324 hitting efficiency with five digs and two blocks for 13.0 points. For the weekend, she averaged a squad-best 3.14 kills per set on .345 hitting and totaled 26.0 points over the two matches combined.
Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) charted seven kills on 11 swings with no errors for a .636 hitting efficiency, while senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) added six kills on .385 hitting with a squad-best 11 digs. Junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) chipped in five kills on .571 hitting with two blocks.
Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) dished out a match-high 21 assists, while junior Cinthya Roberto (Brasilia, Brazil), making her first career appearance at libero, added eight digs.
To open the first set, Florida jumped out to a fast 4-1 lead behind kills from Anderson, Murphy and Jaeckel. The Razorbacks cut the Gators’ lead to one at 4-3 after a Hayley Koop kill, but Florida then fired off six consecutive points, highlighted by four Murphy service aces, to stretch the advantage to seven at 10-3. From there, the Gators kept rolling. With Florida leading 17-9, Bledsoe and Jaeckel recorded consecutive kills, stretching the lead to 10. In the final points of the first set, the Razorbacks rallied, using two kills from Janeliss Torres-Lopez and Kelli Stipanovich and a Torres-Lopez block to come within five at 24-19. The Gators recovered, closing out the first set at 25-19 on a Murphy kill.
Florida came out firing in the second set, taking an early 5-1 lead thanks to two Anderson kills and a Rivers ace. The Razorbacks battled back to cut Florida’s lead in half at 3-5 behind a Stipanovich kill, but the Gators then ran off another two straight points with a Roberto ace and Jaeckel kill to bring the score to 7-3. Arkansas kept battling, but the Gators never gave up the lead. The Razorbacks came within two at 12-10 after two straight kills, but Florida pulled ahead, using put-downs by Rivers and Bledsoe, as well as two more Murphy aces, to stretch the lead to 10 at 23-13. The Gators easily wrapped up the set at 25-13 on a Jaeckel ace and another Murphy kill.
Florida opened the third set with another Murphy kill and a block by Jaeckel and Anderson to go up 3-1. Arkansas cut the lead to one at 4-3, but the Gators responded by firing off four straight points, highlighted by two Murphy aces, to go up 8-3. Ahead 8-5, the Gators ran off another three straight points, thanks to a Jaeckel kill and a Razorback attack error to widen the advantage to 11-5. Leading by five at 13-8, Florida went on another 3-0 run behind kills from Rivers and Anderson, along with another Rivers ace, bringing the score to 16-8. The Razorbacks kept battling, shrinking the Gators’ lead to six at 23-17 after a Raymariely Santos ace, but Florida easily closed out the set and the match 25-17 on a final Murphy kill.
Arkansas (9-8, 3-3 SEC) was led by Stipanovich’s team-high nine kills on .364 hitting. The Gators limited Jasmine Norton, who entered the match ranked second in the SEC with 3.94 kills per set, to just four kills on .000 hitting.
Florida returns to action on Friday when it travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to take on Alabama. Opening serve is slated for 8 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on ROCK 104 (103.7 FM in Gainesville) with Cory Stephens.
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