Saturday October 15, 2011Gators' Pin Hitters Swing Big in Road Sweep of Ole Miss
The No. 13 Florida volleyball team continued its sweep streak with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-11) victory over Ole Miss on Friday evening. The Gators earned their 12th sweep of the season and fifth straight, moving to 14-3 on the season and 7-1 in SEC play. Ole Miss fell to 5-12 on the year and 1-8 in conference action.
Florida’s pin hitters shouldered much of the offensive firepower on the evening, as senior right-side/setter and Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) hit a match-high .500 against the Rebels, registering seven kills to go along with 22 assists and seven digs. Junior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) and senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) notched 12 kills apiece, and senior outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) hit .417 with eight kills against Ole Miss. The Gators hit .341 against the Rebels, who registered just a .165 hitting clip.
Florida’s float servers wreaked havoc on the Ole Miss serve receive, as senior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.), sophomore setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) and freshman defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) each registered two service aces and the Gators’ aggressive serving held Ole Miss to a sideout percentage of 53 percent. Redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) led the way defensively with a match-high 14 digs.
The first set was a tight affair, as the teams had eight ties in the opening stanza. Florida only trailed by two the entire match, as Ole Miss jumped ahead at 10-8. A kill by Wiggs sparked a 4-0 Florida run with Anderson behind the service line, forcing a Rebel timeout with the Gators leading, 13-10. Florida never lost the lead after the first timeout was called, as the Gators continued to swing from the pins whenever Ole Miss pulled within the Florida lead. Ole Miss attempted a run at the end of the set, but a kill by Ferrell gave the opening set to Florida, 25-23.
The second set was Wiggs’ biggest of the evening, as the junior posted six kills in the second stanza. Florida went on a 4-0 run early in the set, courtesy of Monserez’s serve. A stuff block by Anderson and Jaeckel gave Florida their largest lead of the set, 14-9. The Gators matched that lead after Brown’s service ace at 16-11, but the Rebels pulled within two points, forcing a Gator timeout at 18-16. Florida stormed towards the finish behind big swings from Ferrell, Jaeckel and Wiggs, who put down the final kill of the second stanza, 25-21.
Florida used that momentum to open the third set, with the Gators going on a 4-0 opening run behind the serve of Monserez, who served seven points for the Gators in the third stanza. The Orange and Blue continued to string runs together, using Jaeckel’s four third-set kills to take as much as a 13-point lead over Ole Miss. The Gators’ back row play was stellar in the third, as Unroe registered eight of her 14 digs in the third set and Florida’s best sideout percentage of the evening came in the third stanza at 81 percent. The Gators rode the momentum of Anderson’s serve, as Florida put together five straight points towards the end of the set, 21-10. The Orange and Blue forced Ole Miss into a .000 hitting percentage in the final stanza, taking the set and the match, 25-11.
The Gators now shift their focus to the Crimson Tide as Florida travels to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama at 2 p.m. on Sunday at Foster Auditorium. The match will be broadcast live on FOX SportSouth with Pete Pranica and Phil Bush providing commentary. Gator fans can also listen to the live radio broadcast on Country 103.7 The Gator with Cory Stephens on the call.