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Sunday November 7, 2010No. 1 Volleyball Escapes Auburn With 3-2 Win

Auburn, AL

The No. 1 Florida volleyball team charted its most blocks in a single match since 2007 and the Gators escaped the Student Activities Center Sunday with a hard-fought 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11) victory against Auburn.

 

The Gators (22-1, 15-0 Southeastern Conference) fought back from a six-point deficit to win the opening set before dropping the second and third frames. Florida’s blocking effort came alive in the fourth frame, as the Gators recorded nine rejections over the final two sets en route to improving to 3-0 this season in five-set matches.

 

Florida recorded 17.0 total team blocks in the match, marking its most blocks since recording 17.5 against Arkansas on Oct. 12, 2007. The Gators out-blocked the Tigers 17-10 in the match, including a 9-2 edge in the final two sets. Florida hit .244 for the match, while Auburn hit .221.

 

“This was a match where we got Auburn’s best shot,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “I thought they played terrific today. I think we learned a lot about ourselves by surviving this match. To win 3-0 on the road like we did on Friday just doesn’t happen too often. I give a lot of credit to how hard Auburn played.”

 

Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) led the way for the Gators offensively, charting her second double-double of the season with a season-high 15 kills on .216 hitting with 13 digs for a team-high 16.0 total points. For the weekend, Rivers averaged a squad-best 3.62 kills per set on .317 hitting and was second on the team with 2.12 digs per set.

 

Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) logged a season-high 12 kills on .400 hitting with a season-high nine blocks. Bledsoe was a key factor in Florida turning around the match midway through the fourth set as she was a part of six blocks during that frame, including four consecutive blocks at one point.

 

“I think the match definitely turned around with Lauren’s play in the fourth set,” Wise said. “She took it to another level today and just had the look of a senior who refused to lose.”

 

Sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) recorded a career-high 10 blocks and had seven kills on 14 swings with no errors for a .500 hitting efficiency. Junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added seven blocks and posted six kills on .312 hitting.

 

Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) logged her 10th consecutive double-double with 11 kills and 25 assists, while junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) added nine kills and 10 digs. It marked the fourth time this season that Jaeckel has reached double-figure dig totals.

 

Senior libero Erin Fleming (Orlando, Fla.) headed Florida’s back-row effort by tying her career high with 21 digs. Fleming also charted 21 digs against Penn State on Sept. 10. Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) tied for the team high in assists with 25.

 

Auburn (17-11, 8-8 SEC) received a superstar performance from sophomore outside hitter Sarah Bullock who recorded her eighth double-double of the season with 20 kills, 17 digs and three blocks for a match-high 21.5 total points. Morgan Johns added 14 kills and four blocks for the Tigers.

 

Auburn jumped to an early 3-1 advantage to begin the first set as libero Liz Crouch opened the match with a service ace. Trailing 4-2, Florida rallied with consecutive points, including a kill by Rivers to knot the score at 4-4. After another tie at 5-all, back-to-back Auburn kills put the Tigers ahead 7-5. Auburn kept rolling to an 11-7 advantage after successive kills by Alyssa Davis and Jonelle Wallace to put it in front 11-7 and forced Wise to burn a timeout. The two teams then began trading points. With the Gators down by five, 15-10, the Tigers charted a service error and Bledsoe followed with a powerful kill on an overpass to bring Florida to within three, 15-12. From there, Auburn scored three in a row, capped off by a Chelsea Wintzinger ace and a Murphy attack error to give the Tigers an 18-12 edge.

 

Trailing 19-13, the Gators used back-to-back kills from Jaeckel and Rivers to whittle Florida’s deficit down to four, 19-15, heading into an Auburn timeout. Down 20-15, the Gators benefitted from an Auburn attack error and a block on the right side by Anderson and Wiggs to come within three, 20-17. The teams again traded points before a block by Anderson and Murphy and a Murphy kill on an overpass on back-to-back plays narrowed the Gators’ deficit to two, 22-20. Out of an Auburn timeout, Murphy and Anderson charted consecutive kills to tie the score at 22-22. After another tie at 23, Jaeckel and Murphy registered back-to-back kills to close out the 25-23 victory. Florida hit .326 in the opening frame and rallied from as many as six points down in that set.

 

The Tigers scored four of the second set’s first five points to take a 4-1 edge. The Gators followed with back-to-back points, including a Jaeckel kill, to cut within one, 4-3, before the two squads began exchanging points for much of the early part of the second frame. With Florida down by two, 13-11, after a Crouch service error, Rivers committed a service error and Auburn’s Bullock followed with a block to give the Tigers a 15-11 advantage heading into a Florida timeout.

 

The squads again traded points before the Tigers, leading 16-13, got a kill from Davis down the middle and a service ace by Sarah Wroblicky to go in front 18-13, heading into a timeout.  Auburn kept rolling to a 23-15 edge before back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Murphy narrowed Florida’s deficit to six, 23-17, forcing Auburn to use a timeout. The Tigers had no trouble in closing out the 25-18 second-set victory, hitting an impressive .556 in that frame.

 

Auburn raced to a 5-2 advantage to begin the third set and kept rolling to an 8-4 lead behind back-to-back kills by Johns and Davis. The two teams then traded points before Florida, trailing 11-7, got consecutive kills by Murphy and Jaeckel to cut within two, 11-9. From there, the Tigers ran off three points in a row to extend their edge to five, 14-9, heading into a UF timeout. Auburn held a five-point edge for much of the second set as the teams exchanged points. A Wiggs kill and a Wallace attack error brought the Gators to within three, 17-14.

 

Down 18-14, Wiggs recorded a kill and Anderson followed with back-to-back blocks to cut Florida’s deficit to one, 18-17. Back-to-back put-downs by Auburn’s Kelly Fidero gave the Tigers a 20-17 advantage, forcing Wise to use a timeout. Out of the break, an Auburn ball-handling error and a Rivers service ace brought UF to within one, 20-19. After the teams traded points, a soft-touch kill by Bledsoe on the outside knotted the score at 21-21. From there, an Auburn block and a Davis kill put the Tigers ahead 23-21. Two consecutive Auburn blocks closed out the 25-21 third-set win.

 

Florida leaped to a 3-1 edge to commence the fourth set thanks to a kill by Rivers and a block by Anderson and Wiggs on back-to-back plays. After trading points, Auburn registered three consecutive kills, including back-to-back put-downs by Davis to take a 7-6 edge. From there, the Gators used a 9-0 run that included six blocks, with Bledsoe and Wiggs in on the majority of those rejections, to give Florida a 15-7 lead at the media timeout. With UF in front 16-8, the Tigers ran off four points in a row to come within four, 16-12, heading into a Gator timeout.

 

 Florida held a 17-13 lead following a Bledsoe kill before a Fidero kill, an Auburn block and a Bullock kill allowed the Tigers to creep within two, 17-15. A Rivers kill stopped Florida’s scoring slide, but Auburn ran off two straight points to cut within one, 18-17. The squads began trading points before consecutive attack errors by the Tigers’ Wallace and Davis allowed Florida to go ahead by three, 22-19. Florida reached set point at 24-21 after a Wiggs kill, but a Bledsoe service error and an Auburn ace brought the Tigers within one, 24-23. A Rivers kill closed out the 25-23 fourth-set win for Florida.

 

The two teams battled evenly to begin the fifth set before back-to-back kills by Bullock allowed the Tigers to pull ahead 4-2. Florida responded with kills from Rivers and Murphy to deadlock the score at 4-all. Auburn then used a 3-1 run to take a 7-5 advantage after a block from Bullock and Davis. From there, Jaeckel charted a kill off an overpass and Murphy served two aces on a pair of strategically placed serves to take an 8-7 lead as the two teams switched sides. A block and a Murphy kill capped off the 5-0 Florida run that put the Gators in front 10-7.

 

After a Murphy service error ended the Florida scoring spree, a crafty kill by Wiggs put UF ahead 11-8 and forced Auburn head coach Wade Benson to burn a timeout. The Gators moved ahead 12-8 after a Jaeckel service ace, but Jaeckel followed with a service error and the Tigers got a kill to cut within two, 12-10. A Christina Solverson service ace allowed Auburn to get within one, 12-11, but Rivers responded with a resounding kill. Wiggs charted a kill to bring Florida to match point before Anderson and Wiggs ended the match with a block for the 15-11 victory.

 

Florida returns to action on Thursday when it plays host to Mississippi State. Opening serve is slated for 7 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on FS Florida with Larry Vettel and Missy Whittemore, and on WRUF Sports Radio 850 with Tom Collett.

 

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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