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Niki Hartley

Sunday October 15, 2000Wise Wins 400th in Sweep of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE

Niki Hartley

Florida Volleyball Coach Mary Wise became the fastest female coach to capture 400 career victories (in terms of matches coached) as the ninth-ranked Gators won their ninth consecutive match with a 15-7, 15-10, 15-12 sweep of Tennessee Sunday afternoon at the Stokely Athletics Center.

The Gators (15-3, 7-0) remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference action as Wise improved to 400-97 (.805) in her 14th year. UF has swept seven of the last eight meetings with the LadyVols (15-4, 4-2 SEC) and leads the series 22-5.

"For us to win 3-0 on the road with so many young players says a lot about the growth of this team," Wise said. The Gators have swept five of their last six opponents.

Four starters recorded double-digit kills. Junior Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) and Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Academy) led all hitters with 14 kills each. The duo also posted individual double-doubles with 12 and 14 digs, respectively. The Gator middle blockers spearheaded UF’s .261 hitting efficiency. Sophomore Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) led all players with a .450 (11-2-20) attack percentage, and frosh Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) hit .412 (10-3-17). It was the seventh straight match Jenkins hit better than .400.

An 8-5 UF blocking advantage held UT to a .171 hitting efficiency. It was the 17th consecutive outing UF out-blocked its opponent. McCray had a match-best four roofs.

"This is one of the toughest places to play, because they (UT) are so well prepared," Wise said. "But, I feel we had a great performance out of so many of our players."

UF opened with a 5-0 lead, led by Jenkins who had two kills and a block in that run. But, UT returned from a timeout and capitalized on several Gator miscues to tie it at seven. The Gators shut out the Vols to go up 1-0 in the match. Jenkins was perfect with five kills on six swings as UF registered a .281 hitting efficiency. UT hit negative .032.

In Game 2, the Gators patiently chipped away at an early 6-3 UT lead in the 29-minute dual. Their patience paid off in a match-best .353 offensive effort led by Cruz with seven kills. The Vols improved their offense to a .306 average, but they couldn’t stop Cruz, who put down four kills in the stretch and had eight digs in the frame.

Points were hard to come by for either team in the final frame. High-error attacking left UF with its lowest hitting efficiency of the match (.169). UT hit just .163, thanks to a match-high blocking effort by the Gators with four. The Gators never had more than one three-point advantage, until they went up 14-11. The Vols still battled and held off two match points before a block from Jenkins and Hartley, appropriately, sealed the win.

The Gators return home Friday, Oct 21 to play host to LSU. It begins a season-long, five-match home stand. First serve is at 7 p.m. from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live.

 

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