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Friday September 29, 2000Volleyball Sweeps Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss.

The 12th-ranked University of Florida volleyball team swept Mississippi State 15-3, 15-4, 15-13 in its first road league match to remain perfect in Southeastern Conference play Friday night at the Newell-Grissom Building.

UF (10-3, 3-0 SEC) is now 21-0 against the Bulldogs (12-3, 0-3 SEC). It was the fourth straight win for the Gators.

The Gators dominated through the first two games, primarily with their serving. UF had seven aces on the match, while MSU had 10 service errors. Freshman Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Academy) led all players with four aces for the second straight outing.

"We played pretty well," Coach Mary Wise said. "But, certainly we got a lot of help from our serving and their errors."

Cruz led the Gator attack, which averaged a .206 hitting efficiency, with nine kills. It was the lowest offensive effort in four matches. "Certainly we werenít as sharp as we could be," Wise said.

But thanks to a consistent defense, UF held MSU to a .032 attack percentage, the lowest average for a Gator opponent this season. UF out-dug and out-blocked the Bulldogs 49-35 and 7-5, respectively. It was enough to suppress MSUís Brianne Smedley. The senior, who ranked second nationally in hitting efficiency at .452, hit negative .250.

Wise felt senior Jerilyn Hattendorf (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles), who was second with nine digs, was the forefront of the Gator defense. " Jerilyn set the tone. She was digging everything. I think she set the tempo for this match."

The Gators took MSU out of system from the start, serving up four aces in Game 1. In contrast, the Bulldogs had five service errors. Setter Kris Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior) hit 1.000 with four kills. After trailing 2-0, UF outscored MSU 15-1 to put away MSU in just 14 minutes. In Game 2, McCray led all hitters with a .600 hitting efficiency and two blocks, including one solo. MSU hit a match-low negative .071.

In the final game, MSU gave UF its first three straight sideouts by serving the ball in the net. UF went up 5-2 on two consecutive blocks from Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carroll). The Bulldogs tied it at seven on a kill and four UF hitting errors. They took leads of 9-7 and 13-12. Jenkins broke a 13-13 tie with a rocket swing and put away the match-winning kill. It was the most points MSU has scored in a game vs. UF since 1989.

"Game 3 was much more what we expected to see from Mississippi State," Wise said. "We didnít have many calls go our way, but our team persevered."

UF concludes its road swing at Ole Miss (7-7, 0-2 SEC through Sept. 28) Sunday at 3 p.m. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live.

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