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Friday October 13, 2000Volleyball Sweeps Kentucky


A pair of freshmen led ninth-ranked Florida to a sweep over Kentucky 15-3, 15-5, 15-11 to win its eighth consecutive match and remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference volleyball action Friday night at Memorial Coliseum.

Behind a career-best offensive effort from Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Acadmey), the Gators improved to 14-3 overall and 6-0 in the league. UK (4-13, 2-4 SEC) lost its fifth straight.

Cruz led all hitters with 11 a personal-best .450 hitting efficiency. Middle blocker Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) was close behind with a .417 effort, the sixth-straight outing she’s hit better than .400. Jenkins also led UF with six blocks as the Gators out-blocked their opponent for the 16th straight time (12-6).

"I thought it was a complete effort out of everybody," 10th-year Coach Mary Wise, who is now 20-0 against UK, said. "We thought we could win in three (games) if we were low-error. For the most part, we were."

The Gators hit .286 on the match (20-16-84) to UK’s .097 (31-22-93). UF also had 28 digs to the Wildcats’ 22.

UF was nearly unstoppable in Game 1. The Gators took a 14-0 lead with a perfect attack during that run. Five different hitters contributed to UF’s .400 hitting efficiency with only two unforced hitting errors. UK averaged a negative .038 attack. The Wildcats held off game point with three consecutive points scored by a block and two UF hitting errors. Cruz ended the Wildcats’ run with a back row bomb, and Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) put down the winning kill.

Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis), who led all players with 10 digs, gave UF its first lead in Game 2 with a block solo. The Gators out-scored the ‘Cats 12-3 to win the game. UF averaged a .419 hitting efficiency, compared to UK’s .086. Hartley and Cruz led with four kills apiece.

Jenkins led UF in an 8-0 run to open the final frame. She was in on three consecutive roofs and had one kill in that stretch. The Gators let the ‘Cats back in it midway through the game. Down 13-3, UK ticked off six straight to come within two. But, Wise wasn’t about to let her team get rattled and called for a time out. UF sided out, and McCray put up two block assists for the win. The sophomore finished with five roofs (one solo) and seven kills.

The Gators face Tennessee Oct. 15 in Knoxville, Tenn. Wise will look to become the fastest female coach to 400 career victories (in terms of matches coached—current record is 399-97 in her 14th season). The Sunshine Network and WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live at 1 p.m. from the Stokely Athletics Center.

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