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Friday October 8, 2010Jaeckel Leads Gators to Hard-Fought Win vs. Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) turned in a team-high 11 kills on .346 hitting to lead the No. 2 Florida volleyball team to a hard-fought 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-20) win against Alabama on Friday night in front of an energetic crowd in The CAVE.

 

Jaeckel and junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) combined for 21 kills and 24.0 total points. Jaeckel’s 11 kills were complemented by her four digs for a team-high 12.5 points, while Murphy’s 10 kills came on .421 hitting with 18 assists, five digs and three blocks.

 

The Gators (13-1, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) hit .255 for the match, while limiting Alabama to a .189 hitting efficiency. Florida has held all but two opponents this season under a .200 hitting efficiency. The Gators out-blocked the Crimson Tide 7.0-5.0.

 

“Against a very inspired Alabama team, I thought we played very well,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “The difference on our side was the play of Kristy Jaeckel. Kristy was into it from point one tonight and really showed her leadership skills.”

 

Three Gators recorded three blocks apiece in the match as Murphy, senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) and sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) each charted three rejections. Bledsoe, Wiggs and senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) all registered six kills each.

 

Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) led the team’s back-row play with a team-high 18 digs, while freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) contributed 17 assists and five digs.

 

Florida raced out to a 3-1 advantage to start the first set with a Bledsoe ace highlighting the early stages of the match. The two teams began trading points until the Gators, leading 5-4, ran off four consecutive points thanks to three Alabama errors and a Rivers kill to extend their advantage to 9-4 heading into a Crimson Tide timeout. With Florida up 10-4 after a Fleming ace, Alabama ran off two straight points to cut within four, 10-6, before Jaeckel drilled a kill to stop the Crimson Tide’s scoring run at 12-6. With the Gators in front by five, 13-8 after a Jaeckel kill, Alabama began whittling away at its deficit to cut within four, 14-10, following back-to-back kills.

 

The two squads again began trading points until two consecutive Murphy kills put Florida ahead 18-12 and forced another Crimson Tide timeout. Florida kept rolling to a 20-14 advantage, but Alabama then used a 3-1 run to cut within four, 21-17. The Crimson Tide kept rallying to cut within three, 23-20, forcing Wise to burn a timeout late in the set. With Florida at set point 24-20 after a Jaeckel kill, Alabama scored three consecutive points to cut within one, 2423, heading into another timeout by the Gators. A Jaeckel kill out of the break gave Florida a hard-fought 25-23 first-set victory. The Gators hit an impressive .324 in the opening set.

 

Alabama opened the second set with a 4-1 advantage before the Gators, trailing 5-2, rallied to tie the score thanks to back-to-back Rivers aces. After another tie at 6-6, Florida ran off three points in a row, capped off by a resounding kill from Murphy on the outside to take a 9-6 lead. The Crimson Tide posted a rally of their own with four points in a row to go up 10-9, before a dynamic kill by Murphy on second contact again knotted the score. After one more tie, the Gators used a strong service run by Jaeckel to go ahead 14-11 after a resounding block by Bledsoe and Wiggs on the right side.

 

Out of an Alabama timeout, the Crimson Tide got back-to-back kills by Kayla Fitterer and Alyssa Meuth to cut within one, 14-13. With Florida in front 15-14, the Gators used a kill by Anderson, an ace from Brown and a kill by Murphy to take a four-point, 18-14 edge. The two teams then traded points before Florida took a 23-18 lead after a Jaeckel kill. The Crimson Tide kept fighting to cut within three, 23-20, after back-to-back blocks. An Alabama attack error brought the Gators to set point at 24-20 and a Wiggs kill closed out the 25-21 second-set victory.

 

Florida staked to a 4-2 advantage in the third set after a kill and a service ace by Jaeckel on successive plays. The Gators kept rolling to a 7-4 edge on a block by Anderson and Murphy in the middle. The two squads began trading points until three kills by UF on four plays, including back-to-back put-downs from Murphy and Bledsoe to extend its lead to 12-7. With the Gators leading 12-8, Bledsoe and Jaeckel posted kills on successive plays to widen Florida’s lead to six, 14-8. After the squads exchanged points before Florida, leading 16-10, scored three in a row, including a Rivers kill during that span, to go up 19-10. The two teams then fought closely with the Gators going in front 22-14 following a kill drilled by Murphy. Alabama hung tough, cutting within four, 23-19, before a Meuth attack error brought UF to match point at 24-19. A Rivers kill closed out the 25-20 third-set win.

 

Alabama (8-8, 0-6 SEC) was led by Meuth’s 12 kills, while Fitterer added 11 put-downs and 16 digs.

 

Florida returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Starkville, Miss., to take on Mississippi State. Opening serve in the Newell-Grissom Building is slated for 2:30 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on GatorVision Online and WRUF-AM 850 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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