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Monday September 5, 2011No. 9 Florida Volleyball Suffers First Defeat of 2011 to No. 19 Iowa State

Gainesville, Fla.

The No. 9 Florida volleyball team came clawing back after falling behind two sets but it wasn’t enough as the Gators dropped their first match of the season, 2-3 (19-25, 27-29, 25-17, 25-18, 14-16), to No. 19 Iowa State on Monday afternoon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

 

Senior Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) led the Gators with 16 kills, narrowly missing a double-double with nine digs. Junior Tangerine Wiggs played one of her best matches as a Gator with a career-high 14 kills, three blocks and two digs. Senior Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had 10 kills and seven digs to go along with four blocks, while fellow middle blocker Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) had a career match against the Cyclones with a career-high seven kills on .875 hitting efficiency and a career-high seven blocks. Lowe’s Senior CLASS candidate Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.), playing in her 100th career match, fell just short of a quadruple-double with 29 assists, 21 digs, nine kills and seven blocks.

 

“Our team showed some resiliency in terms of fighting back to get us to five (sets),” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “Then, obviously, the story in set five is way too many unforced errors. We gave them way too many points, so that’s disappointing, but it’s also a great opportunity to learn. I thought, especially with our young players, they made huge strides in terms of how hard you’re going have to work against a team this good. Right now we could be undefeated without playing them, but we wouldn’t know as much about ourselves as we do now.”

 

The Gators outscored the Cyclones, 89.0-72.0, and outhit ISU .259 to .208. Nine Florida players set a total of 21 season and/or career highs against Iowa State.

 

A bright spot for Florida was the Gators’ play on defense at the net. Florida doubled Iowa State’s blocking output 16.0-8.0, the Gators’ largest block total since their last five-set match against Florida State in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. The eight block margin was also the largest since November 26th, 2010 at South Carolina (15.0-3.0). The implementation of associate head coach Dave Boos’ defensive schemes in the last year has doubled the Gators’ blocking numbers.

 

Florida has had 16.0+ total blocks in three matches since Boos’ hiring and registered double digit blocks in over 50% of the Gators’ matches last year. For comparison, in the last decade, the Gators have only had 16 or more total blocks in 15 matches and registered double digit blocks in 25% of matches. The last time the Gators had a blocking output of 16.0 or higher before Boos was October 12th, 2007 against Arkansas.

 

The opening frame was nothing less than a nail-biter. After an early series of Iowa State blocks, the Orange and Blue were forced into a timeout with the Cyclones up 6-3. Firing out of the break was a Wiggs kill down the line, followed by two Ferrell service aces to push the Gators in front, 7-6. The Cyclones swung the momentum to their side of the court but Florida kept fighting back. Jaeckel drilled a ball into the center of the ISU backcourt to lessen the gap, 22-16, which she followed then followed with a solo block to win another point for UF, 22-17. Although the Gators fought their way back into the set, they came up short, dropping the frame, 25-19.

 

The Cyclones took charge with a 3-0 lead over the Gators in the second stanza. A Murphy kill through the center of the ISU defense gave the Orange and Blue their first point of the set, as they battled to tie the game at 10. A Murphy ace gave UF its first lead of the game, 11-10. A Jaeckel one-armed dig allowed Brown to set to Murphy for a drive down the line to extend the lead to 16-13. Jaeckel blasted a hit down the line and caused the Cyclones to call a timeout at 22-18 with the Gators ahead. Being just shy of the set win, Iowa State battled back and forced the frame into extra points with the Cyclones coming out on top with a 29-27 win.

 

The Gators came out of intermission with no intention of losing another set to the Cyclones, and took an early 3-1 lead. Wiggs and Anderson formed a wall at the net that helped the Orange and Blue extend their lead to 5-2.  Murphy’s quick set to Smith had fans roaring as the Gators’ lead increased to 9-7. An attack by Anderson took Florida on a 3-0 run, and gave the Gators their first five-point lead, 15-10. Smith drove ISU into a time out after a quick tip to the right side of the Cyclone courtside for a 17-11 lead. Brown set up Jaeckel for the attack that would put Florida five points away from their first win of the match, and the final drill by Anderson would give the Gators the 25-17 win.

 

The Orange and Blue kept the same momentum flowing from the third set into the fourth as they battled for a lead against the Cyclones. A Murphy-Smith stuff block drove the Gators into a 3-0 run to give them their first three-point lead of the frame, 10-7. An Iowa State service error sparked Murphy’s 5-0 run behind the service line, and her quick set to Anderson rattled the ISU defense and broadened the lead, 18-10.  The Cyclone 4-0 run cost Florida a timeout at 20-17, but the Orange and Blue would go on a 4-0 run of their own to win the set 25-18 with Jaeckel delivering the final kill.

 

The final frame was a close fight between the two teams. The Cyclones went on a 4-0 run to take an 8-5 lead over the Gators. A service ace by Murphy put the score at 9-10, but the Cyclones were not ready to surrender the lead. A big block by Jaeckel-Smith tied the score at 12 and caused ISU into a time out. The final points were dueled back-and-forth until a Murphy hitting error ended the match in the Cyclones’ favor, 16-14.

 

The Gators, after a seven-game homestand, will participate in the second annual Nike Big Four Classic, hosted by Stanford University. No. 7 Florida, who moved up in the polls during Monday’s match, is scheduled to play at 11 p.m. EST/8 p.m. PST against No. 10 Texas and will match up against either No. 2 Penn State or No. 3 Stanford on Saturday. Times will be determined based on Friday’s result. Fans can watch the matches on Stanford’s website, as the Cardinal are providing live streaming video for fans who cannot make the trek to Palo Alto.

 

“It won’t get any easier now going on the road,” Wise said. “It will feel very different in terms of that road mentality, but we could’ve used some of that road mentality here. I wish we would’ve come in with it. I will look at the next two matches similar to all the non-conference matches we’ve played so far. It is a chance to get better before the SEC. There is no way we can get better without playing these kinds of teams.”

 

For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/Volleyball or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida volleyball on Twitter at @GatorZoneVB or www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at @GatorMary or www.twitter.com/GatorMary. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.

 

All-Time Record Updates

-          Florida’s all-time record is now 794-170

-          Mary Wise is now 638-70 at Florida and 719-133 overall in her career

-          The Gators are now 389-55 at home

-          The Orange and Blue are now 462-136 against non-conference opponents

-          UF is 105-81 versus ranked opponents

 

Florida vs. Iowa State

-          Florida is now 3-1 against Iowa State

-          The Gators defeated the Cyclones, 3-1, in the 2010 season opener in Omaha, Neb.

-          This is the first time the Gators and Cyclones have gone to five sets

 

Season-Opening Streaks

-          The loss in the first set ended the Gators’ winning streak at 18 straight sets won, the second longest season-opening streak in Florida history (31 sets, 1995)

-          The match loss halted UF’s winning at six, which matches the start of the 2009 season

 

Match Stat Leaders

-          Kills: Kristy Jaeckel (16)

-          Hitting Percentage, min. 7 attacks: Betsy Smith (.875, 7-0-8)

-          Assists: Kelly Murphy (29)

-          Service Aces: Kelly Murphy/Stephanie Ferrell (3)

-          Digs: Kelly Murphy (21)

-          Block Solo: Stephanie Ferrell (2)

-          Block Assists: Kelly Murphy (7)

-          Total Blocks: Kelly Murphy/Betsy Smith (7)

 

Murphy Hits Double Figures

-          Kelly Murphy notched a double-double in the match, the 63rd of her career, with 29 assists and 21 digs

-          This is the fourth time in her career that she has achieved 20+ in two categories, the previous three occurrences having been 20 kills and 20+ assists, as this was the first time in her career that she has earned 20-or-more digs in a match

-          She was also just one kill and three blocks shy of a quadruple-double, a feat which has never been achieved in Florida history

 

Gators in the Florida Record Books

-          Kelly Murphy’s nine kills increase her career total to 1,061, moving her past Benavia Jenkins ’03 into 13th all time, while Kristy Jaeckel’s 16 kills give her a total of 989, which moves her out of a tie with Heather Wright ’00 for sole possession of 18th.

-          Murphy also moved past Amber McCray ’07 and into 19th all-time with 2,163 total attacks

-          Moreover, Murphy’s 15.5 points push her past Gudula Staub (1991-92) and into 14th all-time with 1,265.5.

 

New Career Highs

-          Tangerine Wiggs slashed her old career high of 10 kills with 14 in today’s match

-          Betsy Smith had three more blocks than she’d ever had before, stuffing seven

-          Cassandra Anderson tied her career highs in kills (10) and assists (2)

-          Stephanie Ferrell set a new best for service aces at Florida, with three, which ties her best while at Hawaii

-          Kelly Murphy set new career marks with 21 digs and seven block assists

 

Florida Milestones

-          Murphy played in her 100th career match and her 350th career set this afternoon

-          Additionally, Murphy served up her 100th career ace and sits in a tie for 18th all-time with Steffi Legall (1990-91) with 101

-          Kristy Jaeckel recorded her 2600th attack today, becoming the 13th Gator to do so. She now has a total of 2,606 for her career

 

Worth Noting

-          Jaeckel (16), Wiggs (14) and Anderson (10) all had double-digit kills today, marking the first time this season that three Gators have had 10-or-more kills

-          The last time three Gators hit double-digit kills was in the 5-set victory over Florida State in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament

-          Today’s match is also the first time this season that two Gators have had 20-or-more assists, in Kelly Murphy (29) and Chanel Brown (24). The pair also did so most recently vs. FSU in 2010

-          As a team, the Gators had 66 kills and hit .259. The last time that the Gators had 65-or-more kills and hit at least .250 was on Aug. 29, 2009, when Florida hit .255 with 68 kills in a 5-set victory over FSU

 

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