Sunday October 16, 2011Jaeckel's Double-Double in Tuscaloosa Leads No. 13 Gators to Sixth Straight Sweep
Behind the 13th straight double-digit kill performance of Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.), the No. 13 Florida volleyball team earned its 13th sweep of the season with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-16, 25-13) victory over Alabama on Sunday afternoon. The Gators climb to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in SEC play. Alabama fell to 10-11 on the season and 3-7 in conference competition.
Jaeckel led the Gators with her fifth double-double of the season, posting 14 kills and 10 digs on the afternoon, while adding two blocks and two service aces. Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) narrowly missed a triple-double with nine kills, 22 assists and nine digs, hitting .538 against the Crimson Tide. The senior right-side/setter also registered four blocks and didn’t commit a hitting error until the third set.
Aiding the Gators’ balanced attack was junior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.), who had nine kills on the afternoon. Senior outside hitter Stephanie Ferrell (Los Angeles, Calif.) registered eight kills against Alabama, hitting .467, while junior middle blocker Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) had seven kills on .462 hitting. Redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) posted a match-high 13 digs
The Gators started the match out with a kill for Wiggs and never trailed in the first set, as Jaeckel, Murphy and Wiggs each registered four kills in the first set. Florida led by as much as six, as kills by Murphy and Smith gave the Gators an advantage at 13-7 and 17-11. Alabama began to start a comeback, pulling within two and forcing a Florida timeout. The Gators spread the ball around to keep the Crimson Tide block guessing and Florida took the first set off a Murphy slam, 25-21.
The second set became a senior showcase, as Jaeckel and Murphy combined for 11 kills on 16 swings with no errors (.688). Jaeckel and Unroe went on serving sprees that forced Alabama timeouts, as Florida led by as many as nine points at multiple points throughout the second stanza. The Crimson Tide looked to be making a move in the middle of the set, taking their only lead of the match at 11-10, and forcing a Gator timeout. Out of Florida’s timeout, the Gators closed the set on a 15-5 run, behind the spectacular defense of Unroe, who posted eight digs in the second set alone. The Gators took the second set, 25-16, off an Anderson-Wiggs stuff block, and went into the locker room with a 2-0 advantage in the match.
Florida used the momentum from their second stanza performance to take an early lead over Alabama. As the Crimson Tide began to key in on Murphy, the Alabama block left Ferrell, Jaeckel and Wiggs open to swing away. The three combined for 13 kills and Ferrell hit errorless in the third set, notching five kills on seven swings. The Alabama offense was unable to take advantage of their opportunities in the third set, hitting negative to close the match with just four kills in the final stanza. Monserez closed the set behind the service line, serving four straight points to close the match, 25-13.
The third set has been Florida’s best as of late, as the Gators have held their last three opponents to final set scores of 25-8 (LSU), 25-11 (Ole Miss) and 25-13 (Alabama).
Florida has a quick turnaround this week, as the Orange and Blue travel to SEC East rival South Carolina on Wednesday evening. The match will be featured as part of ESPNU’s Wednesday Night Women’s Volleyball doubleheader, as the Gators and the Gamecocks face off at 8 p.m. ET. Florida fans can also listen to the live radio broadcast on Sportsradio 850 with Cory Stephens on the call.