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Wednesday August 31, 2011Seminole Sweep: No. 9 Gators Remain Unbeaten vs. FSU in O'Connell Center

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 9 University of Florida volleyball team held in-state rival No. 25 Florida State to a hitting percentage of just .137, overcoming large deficits in the second and third sets, to defeat the Seminoles, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-22, in front of a crowd of 4,631 fans, including a record 1,901 students, at the O'Connell Center on Tuesday night.

 

“Our students have been doing a really good job of showing up,” senior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) said. “We have never had fans like this, especially in the beginning of the season. When we were down and started coming back, it was really the crowd that was pushing us. They really just give us that extra little bit of energy that you need.”

 

The Gators did not allow the Seminoles to win more than two points in a row in the first set. Florida then bounced back from a 9-1 deficit in the second set and trailed 13-6 in the third set, as the comeback kids did it again, pulling out 25-22 victories over Florida State in both sets.

 

Tonight's match marked the Gators' third consecutive three-set victory of 2011, opening the season with nine-straight set wins. Tonight's match was Florida's 21st-straight victory over the Seminoles and 20th straight in Gainesville. Florida is now 35-16 all-time against FSU and 28-2 under Florida head coach Mary Wise.

 

Murphy led the way for the Gators, notching her program-record 23rd triple double, with 12 kills, 17 assists and 10 digs. Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) recorded eight kills, Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) each tallied seven kills, and Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) added six more. Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) led the team in assists, notching 17, and Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) held down the defense with 15 digs. 

 

“We knew coming into the match that Florida State could run points, because they’re a terrific serving team, and they can block. The peak that was really impressive was how good they’re freshman libero was. I think that it unwrapped the battle that will be for the next four years. I think Katie did outstanding tonight. So, that is how we saw them run points against Kentucky. They can just bulldoze you.”

 

The first set between the two familiar foes began as a race for quick points. Ferrell hit a ball down the line and stepped behind the service line, sparking a five-point run and gave Florida a 10-7 lead. A perfect set from Murphy gave Wiggs a wide-open net, swinging big to extended the Florida lead to 17-13, the largest lead of the set. Florida State was never able to string together more than two points at a time, as Florida took the first set, 25-21.

 

The Seminoles took a hold of the second stanza early. With a 6-1 advantage over the Orange and Blue, Wise called a time out. Florida State, unfazed by the stoppage in play, rattled off another three points to give Florida their largest deficit of 2011 at 9-1. Wise made a substitution and gave Noami Santos-Lamb (Carolina, Puerto Rico) the first minutes of her career, as Santos-Lamb notched her first kill off a set from Unroe. The momentum began to shift towards the Gators, thanks to aggressive serving from Unroe, Murphy and Ferrell. Florida kept pushing and finally broke through when Jaeckel stepped behind the service line, scoring six straight points and causing the O’Dome crowd to begin chanting her name. The Gators were able to sideout continuously and halt the Seminoles’ attempts to come back, taking the second set, 25-22.

 

The third set seemed like déjà vu as Florida State aggressively came out of intermission to take a 10-5 lead. The Gators weren’t able to go on more than a 2-0 run until Brown started connecting with Murphy and Jaeckel, as they both contributed four kills in the third set. Jaeckel and Unroe both went on serving sprees to put the Gators within two. Florida State’s Visnja Djurdjevic stopped the Gators’ run and forced a Florida timeout. Out of the break, Jaeckel stunned Stepanova on defense with a hard shot on the ten-foot-line, putting Florida within two. Anderson stepped behind the service line and put the Gators ahead for the first time in the third stanza, serving four straight points, 23-21. Jaeckel drove home a set from Murphy to give the Gators match point. Brown served for the match and a Florida State attacking error ended the set and the match, 25-22.

 

“I think that tonight was a good learning experience for us” Jaeckel said. “It definitely shows us where we are. They are such a good team that exposes what we need to work on. We had our moments when we were playing great, and we had our moments when we were playing not so good. We’re just really trying to work on smoothing out our plays, so we’re consistent in the future.”

 

The Gators now host the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational this weekend in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Florida plays at 12 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

 

FLORIDA VOLLEYBALL MATCH UPDATES

All-Time Record Updates

-        Florida’s all-time record is now 790-169

-        Mary Wise is now 635-69 at Florida and 716-132 overall in her career

 

Florida vs. Florida State

-        Tonight’s win was Florida’s 20th home win against Florida State (20-4 home record)

-        The Gators are now 35-16 all-time against the Seminoles

-        Mary Wise is now 28-2 against FSU

-        The win was Florida’s 20th three-set victory against FSU (20-6 total)

-        Florida extended its winning streak against FSU to 21 straight matches, dating back to 1995

-        Florida’s home winning streak is now at 16 games, with the Gators’ last loss to the Seminoles in Gainesville coming back in 1990 at Florida Gym

-        Florida has not lost to the Seminoles in the O’Connell Center in over 25 years (if ever)

 

Season-Opening Streaks

-        Tonight’s match was Florida’s third straight 3-set victory

-        The last time Florida opened the season with three straight 3-set victories was in 2005

o       Home victories over Jacksonville, Dayton and Missouri State

-        Florida’s longest season-opening streak of 3-set wins is 10 matches in 1995, starting the season with 31 straight set victories

-        Florida’s longest season-opening match winning streak was 28 matches in 1995

 

Match Stat Leaders

-        Kills: Kelly Murphy (12)

-        Hitting Percentage, min. 7 attacks: Cassandra Anderson (.500)

-        Assists: Chanel Brown (21)

-        Service Aces: Five Gators (1)

-        Digs: Taylor Unroe (15)

-        Block Solo: Kristy Jaeckel (1)

-        Block Assists: Betsy Smith (2)

-        Total Blocks: Betsy Smith (2)

 

Kelly Murphy’s Triple-Doubles

-        Kelly Murphy notched her school-record 23rd career triple-double tonight

o       12 kills, 17 assists, 10 digs)

-        In five matches against Florida State (including tonight’s), Murphy has recorded triple-doubles in three of them

o       As a freshman, she was one dig shy of a triple double

 

Gators in the Florida Record Books

-        Kelly Murphy moved into 15th all-time at Florida in career kills, surpassing Amber McCray (2003-2007), with a total of 1,033 kills

-        Cassandra Anderson is now tied with Kisa Killingsworth (2004-2007) for ninth all-time in career block assists, with 318

-        After tonight’s match, Murphy’s hitting percentage remains at .361, ranking ninth

Players vs. Florida State

-        Cassandra Anderson, who had a career hitting percentage of .393 against Florida State in three matches prior to tonight, hit .500 with a series career-high eight kills

-        Taylor Unroe, in her first career match against the Seminoles, recorded the most digs against Florida State of any of her current teammates, tabbing 15

-        Kelly Murphy’s 12 kills is the most for a current Gator against FSU in a 3-set match

 

Gator Career-Highs

-        Redshirt freshman Taylor Unroe recorded a career-high 15 digs

-        Senior Stephanie Ferrell tied her all-time career high with nine digs (9/6/09 against California while at Hawaii) and eclipsed her Florida career high of two from 2010

-        Ferrell also recorded a Florida career-high seven kills

 

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