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Saturday September 16, 2000Volleyball Falls to Pepperdine 3-0

Gainesville, FL

It was the 600th match in Florida Gator volleyball history, but No. 8 Pepperdine took the spotlight as it swept the 12th-ranked host 15-13, 15-13, 15-6 to win the UF Hotel & Conference Center Invitational Saturday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.

Tournament MVP Stacy Rouwenhorst recorded 15 kills and 12 digs to help the Waves remain unbeaten with nine wins. UF fell to 6-3.

Tenth-year UF Coach Mary Wise knew her young team was up against a challenge. "We hoped that our athleticism would be enough to overcome Pepperdine's experience and volleyball savvy. We played young, but we lost to a better team that played very well tonight."

The Waves held UF, which was coming off a season-high offensive performance from Friday, to an .069 hitting efficiency. But, Wise did see some bright spots. "We did some good things, like our blocking. There are some nights the balls don't go in."

Led by freshman Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif./Golden Valley), who had a match-high eight blocks, UF out-blocked the Waves 13-9. All-tournament selection Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) was in on six roofs and had 11 kills.

For the second straight match, Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) led UF in kills with 12. The junior outside hitter added 10 digs for her fifth double-double on the year. She was also named to the all-tournament team.

Pepperdine worked its way back from a 9-4 Gator lead in Game 2. Wise attributed the momentum swing to inexperience in that situation. "It's like a basketball team in a tight game. The more experienced team is going to make the shots. We were just pressing too hard. I think that could've been a turning point (in the match for us)."

UF kicks off Southeastern Conference action against Alabama, which was on a six-match win streak through Friday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in the O'Connell Center. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live.

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