Sunday October 17, 2010Mary Wise Earns 700th Career Win
Florida head coach Mary Wise on Sunday became just the 16th coach in Division I women’s volleyball history to earn her 700th career win, as the top-ranked Gators posted a hard-fought 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-21) win against Georgia in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Wise improved to 700-131 (.842) all-time in her 24th season as a collegiate head coach, becoming the 16th coach in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history to eclipse the 700-win milestone. Wise is the 16th-winningest coach in NCAA Division I history all-time and the eighth-winningest active coach. Her impressive resume includes 18 Southeastern Conference Championships, seven Final Four appearances and 18 NCAA Regional Semifinal berths in the last 19 years.
“It gives us a chance to say thank you to all those players and their families for choosing Florida, coming here and playing, and being a part of this program,” Wise said. “If it gives us a chance to take a timeout and thank all of the players, all of the assistant coaches and the support staff, then it’s worth coming up with that number.”
The Gators (16-1, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) posted their 11th consecutive victory and charted 14 blocks, tying for the team’s season-high. Florida hit .284 for the match, while Georgia hit .244.
“I thought it was a really well-played match on the part of Georgia,” Wise said. “They were so low-error, especially in set one. They didn’t give away points, we never got into a good rhythm and I felt like we were a step behind defensively, really, until the middle of the second set. I think that was so evident by how few blocks we had in the first set and a half.”
Four Gators recorded double-figure kills, led by junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel’s (Littleton, Colo.) match-high 12 kills to complement six digs. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) charted a match-high 14.5 points with 11 kills, a team-high 30 assists and seven digs to go along with five block assists.
Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) charted 11 kills on 14 swings with no errors for an impressive .786 hitting efficiency with five blocks for 14.0 points, while senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) charted 10 kills on .250 hitting with eight digs and four blocks for 13.0 points.
“It really helped to have good passing and that just allowed us to have more great looks at the ball,” Bledsoe said. “It was really nice to get more swings. Plus, Georgia is more used to swing blocking and they don’t really stationary block in the middle as much, so that really helped us.”
Junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) posted seven kills on .417 hitting to complement a match-high seven blocks.
“Cassandra and Lauren’s offense were a big part of it,” Wise said. “The fact that we got 18 kills out of our middle and that’s just a little bit behind the 22 of our left sides was impressive. Credit the setters because they did a great job of getting them the ball.”
Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) dished out 20 assists and served two aces, while senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) recorded a match-high 11 digs with two service aces.
To open the first set, the Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead behind consecutive kills from Kathleen Luft. The Gators fought back to cut the Georgia lead to one at 4-3 after a Murphy kill, but two consecutive Florida errors extended the Bulldogs’ lead to three at 6-3. The two teams battled evenly until, at 11-7, the Gators ran off three consecutive points, highlighted by a Jaeckel kill, to come within one at 11-10. The two teams traded points until a Rivers block knotted the score at 16-all. Tied at 17, the Bulldogs broke out on a 3-0 run, highlighted by a block from Luft, Simone May and Valentina Gonzalez, to take a 20-17 lead. From there, the Bulldogs kept rolling, closing out the first set at 25-19 behind consecutive kills from Gonzalez and freshman Brittany Northcutt.
The two teams battled evenly to begin the second set, trading points until, with the score knotted at 9-9, the Bulldogs fired off two consecutive points behind a Kathleen Gates kill and a combined Gonzalez, May and Luft block to take an 11-9 lead. The Gators responded with a 3-0 run of their own thanks to two Anderson kills and another from Murphy to go ahead 12-11. The Bulldogs fought back to lock the score again at 12-all. Still tied at 14-14, Georgia ran off two consecutive points on a Northcutt kill and a block from Northcutt and Ann Dylla to go up 16-14, but a Jaeckel kill and a Bulldog error allowed the Gators to once again knot the score at 16-16. Ahead by two at 20-18, a Rivers kill and a Brown service ace gave Florida a commanding four-point lead at 22-18. The Gators were able to close out the hard-fought set at 25-20 on a Jaeckel kill.
The two teams picked up right where they left off to open the third set, battling to a 2-2 tie until the Gators broke out on a 3-0 run behind a Rivers kill and consecutive blocks to take an early 5-2 lead. The Bulldogs cut the Florida advantage to one at 6-5 on a Gonzalez ace, but a Jaeckel kill stretched the Gators’ lead back to two at 7-5. Ahead 7-6, Florida charted three points in a row, highlighted by a Bledsoe and Jaeckel block and a Murphy service ace, to take a 10-6 lead. From there, the Gators kept rolling, widening the gap to five at 17-12 on a Jaeckel kill. Down 20-15, the Bulldogs fought back, winning four of the next five points thanks to kills from Gates and Luft to cut the Florida lead to two at 21-19. The Gators responded by knocking down three consecutive kills from Murphy and Jaeckel to stretch the lead 24-19.On set point, a combined Murphy and Anderson block wrapped up the third set for Florida at 25-19.
In the fourth set, the Bulldogs raced to a fast 2-0 lead behind the serving of Nicole Choi. Florida came within one at 4-3 after a Georgia error, but a Luft kill widened the gap to two at 5-3. The two teams traded points until a Rivers kill knotted the score at 8-all. From there, the Gators broke out on a 5-0 run, highlighted by a Fleming service ace and kills from Anderson and Jaeckel, to take a 13-8 lead, Florida’s first of the set. Georgia kept battling, coming within three at 16-3 behind kills from Northcutt and May, but they couldn’t catch the Gators. Ahead 17-14, Bledsoe knocked down two consecutive kills to widen the Florida advantage to five at 19-14. The Bulldogs fired off two straight points with a Dylla kill and a combined block from Gonzalez and Gates at 20-16 to bring the score to 20-18, but a Rivers quickly ended that run, extending the Florida lead to three at 21-18.The Gators closed out the final set and the match at 25-21 on a block by Bledsoe and Jaeckel.
Georgia (11-10, 3-7 SEC) was led by a team-high 11 kills from Luft, while Gonzalez added 10 kills on 16 swings with no errors for a .625 hitting efficiency.
Florida returns to action on Wednesday when it plays host to No. 24 Tennessee. Opening serve in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is slated for 8 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on ESPNU with Beth Mowins and Elizabeth Moreau and on WRUF Sports Radio 850 with Tom Collett and Missy Whittemore.
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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