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Sunday November 5, 2000No.10 Volleyball Defeats Georgia, 3-1

Athens, GA

Thanks to a freshman’s double-double in kills and blocks, the 10th-ranked Florida Gator volleyball team is just one match away from an unprecedented 10th Southeastern Conference title as it defeated Georgia 10-15, 15-4, 15-6, 15-7 Sunday afternoon at the Ramsey Center.

It was UF’s second win against the Bulldogs (14-12, 5-8 SEC) in three days. The Gators (21-3, 13-0 SEC), who have won 15 consecutive matches, will finish the conference season Nov. 12 at South Carolina. The Gamecocks entered Sunday in second overall and in the Eastern Division behind UF.

Middle blocker Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) had 12 kill and 11 blocks (2 solos, 9 assists) to spearhead a 14-8 UF blocking advantage. It was the sixth-best individual, single-match total in UF history and marked the 23rd consecutive match the Gators have out-blocked their opponent.

Her classmate, Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif./Golden Valley) was second with seven roofs and had 11 kills. Junior Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) led all players with 15 kills.

Sophomore Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) saw her first action in more that a week. The middle blocker was out with a left ankle sprain. It took UF a game to get used to her return. She finished with nine kills.

UG led the entire way through Game 1, its first single-game victory vs. UF since 1997. Junior Stacy Buerger paced the Bulldog offense to a .349 hitting efficiency with a personal .636 effort (7K-0E, 11TA). A 20-13 digs UG digs advantage held UF to a .185 offensive effort. Hartley led UF with six kills.

"They made some adjustments from Friday night," Coach Mary Wise said. "Part of it was Nicole was in a new position, and we hadn’ t had time to practice that lineup. But, credit Georgia. They served aggressively and were able to hit around the block."

The Gators responded with a 14-1 lead to start the second frame. Cruz started the run with an ace and served three more consecutive points. The Bulldogs held off game point twice and tagged on three more points. But, UG was no match for the Gators’ firey .520 hitting efficiency. Robinson was perfect with six kills on eight swings. Buerger had just three kills to lead UG.

"Once we started serving aggressively, the blocking came around," Wise said.

And it came around in a big way in the next game. Robinson and Jenkins put up a brick wall. The duo combined for five blocks during a late-game, 7-0 run, including three consecutive. Jenkins finished with six in the game (one solo). The net result was a negative .073 Bulldog hitting efficiency.

UG started as if it had nothing left to give in Game 4, and UF raced to match point. But, a late surge by the Bulldogs held off four match points and added six of their own.

UF is in action next at No. 4 Arizona Nov. 7. Sunshine Network will telecast the match live from Tuscon, Ariz., at 9 p.m. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast it live at 8:50 p.m.


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