Saturday September 17, 2011No. 7 Gators Sweep Mississippi State to Take 21st Consecutive SEC Opener
The No. 7 Florida volleyball team swept Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 26-24), to take its 21st consecutive Southeastern Conference opener on Friday night in front of a crowd of 1,009 at the Newell-Grissom Building.
Florida continued their unbeaten streak against Mississippi State, taking all 39 meetings in the series, including 35 3-set sweeps. The Gators hit .310 on the evening and outblocked the Bulldogs, 9.0-6.0.
Florida continued its balanced attack led by senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) with a match-leading 14 kills and senior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) registered her 25th career triple-double on the final point of the match to end with 10 kills on no errors, 19 assists and 11 digs. Junior right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) continued her hot streak with 11 kills on the night to go along with a match-high five blocks and both Murphy and sophomore setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) contributed 19 assists apiece.
Redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) led the match with 15 digs and a perfect serve reception percentage, while freshman defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) earned her first start of the season and notched seven digs on the evening.
Florida took the first set despite only hitting .167 to Mississippi State’s .244, thanks to Jaeckel’s five kills, as well as strong blocking from Wiggs, who had three of her five blocks in the first stanza. The teams rallied all the way to 20 but the Gators began to pull away behind the serve of senior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.), who served five straight points at the end of the first set. A Bulldog hitting error gave the Gators the first set, 25-20.
The Gators pulled out to a 10-7 lead in the second set, thanks to tough serving by Monserez and big swings on the right side from Murphy and Wiggs. Jaeckel and Unroe were mainstays behind the service stripe, serving six of the last 10 Gator points in the set. With Wiggs’ four second-set kills, Florida cruised to a second set victory, 25-18.
Jaeckel came out on fire after the intermission, registering seven of her 14 kills in the third set alone. The Gators hit .410 in the third stanza, led by Wiggs’ .800 hitting clip. Florida battled back from multiple deficits and even staved off a Mississippi State set point before going on a 6-1 run to close out the set and the match, 26-24.
Florida returns home to the friendly confines of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center next weekend to host SEC foes Kentucky and Tennessee on Friday and Sunday. The Gators face off against the Wildcats at 7 p.m. on Friday night and match up with the Volunteers on ESPNU on Sunday at 5 p.m.