Friday September 9, 2011No. 7 Gators Take Down No. 10 Longhorns in Five in First Night of Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic
Palo Alto, Calif.
The No. 7 Florida volleyball team defeated No. 10 Texas in the second match of the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic. The Gators won in five sets, 25-22, 20-25, 25-13, 21-25, 15-12. Florida moves to 7-1 on the season while Texas falls to 2-3. Stanford defeated Penn State in four sets earlier in the evening.
Senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.), playing in her 100th career match, led the Gators with a double-double of 15 kills and 17 digs against the Longhorns. Junior right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) followed up her career performance against No. 19 Iowa State with 13 kills and three blocks against Texas. Senior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) had her 64th career double-double with 12 kills and 30 assists, narrowly missing a triple-dip with nine digs. Senior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) had 11 kills, five digs and two blocks, while junior middle blocker Betsy Smith had a career-high eight blocks to lead the Gators.
Florida outhit Texas, .210-.164 while the Gators had their best defensive performance of the season, scooping 77 digs on the evening. Redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) had a career-high 20 digs while freshman defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) had eight digs, making big plays throughout the match, including stopping Texas’ Haley Eckerman, who had a match-high 18 kills on the evening.
The teams traded points early before a Jaeckel kill sparked a 4-0 run to put the Gators ahead, 12-6. Florida went on another run off three straight kills from Anderson, Ferrell and Jaeckel. The Gators continued the momentum on their side thanks to five kills in the set for Wiggs and four each for Ferrell and Jaeckel. Smith and Wiggs teamed up for a block to end the set, 25-22.
The teams rallied for points throughout set two, with Florida’s pin hitters getting many of the swings early for the Gators. Florida led by no more than two, continuing to battle Texas point-for-point before the Longhorns forced three Florida errors and ran away with the set, 25-20.
Florida jumped out to an early lead in the third set, behind a stuff block from Anderson and Wiggs and a great off-speed kill from Jaeckel. Wiggs continued her success on the front line, swinging big on a dish from Murphy to put Florida ahead, 4-1. Back-to-back kills from Smith continued the momentum towards the Gators’ side, 7-3. Florida forced a Texas timeout after rattling off four straight points with Unroe behind the service line, 11-5. Jaeckel and Smith teamed up for a stuff and a Texas error gave the Gators their largest lead of the match at 20-9. Three straight errors gave Florida the set, 25-13. Murphy came out swinging in the third set, registering three kills after only posting two in the first two sets combined.
After a Texas service ace started the fourth set, three early kills from Wiggs kept the Gators in the match and gave Florida a three-point lead, 15-12. Four straight points off the serve of Hannah Allison put Texas ahead, 17-15. The Gators tied the match twice but weren’t able to stop the Texas offense, sparked by five late kills from the Longhorns’ Eckerman. Texas took the set, 25-21.
In the fifth and final set, Texas jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead before Florida battled back behind the serve of Anderson, tying the set at 4-4. Three straight kills by Murphy pushed the Gators ahead, 9-7, forcing a Longhorns timeout. Texas scored out of the timeout and both sides continued to sideout, keeping the two-point Gator advantage. Jaeckel had a kill that nicked the back corner of the Longhorns’ court, pushing the score to 13-11. Murphy and Smith teamed up for a huge stuff block to give Florida match point, 14-12 and a kill by Murphy gave the Gators the hard-fought fifth-set victory, 15-12.
The Gators now play No. 3 Stanford at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST). The broadcast can be found live on GatorZone.com with Tom Collett on the call. Live video feed is provided by Stanford All-Access.