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Niki Hartley and the Gators advanced to the NCAA second round.

Thursday November 30, 2000Volleyball Advances to NCAA Second Round

Gainesville, FL

Niki Hartley and the Gators advanced to the NCAA second round.

The 10th-ranked University of Florida volleyball team swept Arkansas-Little Rock 15-2, 15-6, 15-4 to advance to the NCAA Second Round Thursday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. The Gators, seeded fourth in the Pacific region, will face Southeast Missouri State, which upset North Carolina 13-15, 12-15, 15-12, 15-6, 15-13 in the early match, Friday at 7 p.m.

UF (28-4) got a double-double from junior Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) who paced the team with 10 kills for a .529 hitting efficiency and 11 digs. Two freshmen led the Gators offensively. Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico/Bayamon Military Academy) led all hitters with 13 kills. Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif./Golden Valley) posted a match-high .600 hitting efficiency (7K-1E-10TA).

It only took one complete service rotation for UF to put away the first game in 11 minutes. UF reeled off 13 unanswered points. Freshman Kelli Notestine (Valkaria, Fla./Melbourne Central Catholic) served eight of them, three of which were aces. The team averaged a .471 hitting efficiency in the game, needing just 10 kills. UALR (27-5) hit negative -.053.

"We came in with a game plan to pass their serves well and we executed," setter Kris Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior) said. "And that was a big help in us getting out to such a big lead"

"We felt like we would give Arkansas-Little Rock more problems than they would give us if we could control the serve," Coach Mary Wise said.

The Trojans battled in the second frame, consistently siding out before the Gators could score their second point. Hartley and Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) combined for five kills in UF's next scoring run. McCray had three of her seven kills in that stretch. UALR's 35 attempts were met by 19 Gator digs in the game, 10 by Hartley.

UF went up 6-0 in the deciding game, spurred by freshman Benavia Jenkins (Ft. Pierce, Fla./John Carroll) who knocked down three consecutive kills. UALR's Raquel Sampaio, who finished with a team-high six kills, gave the Trojans their first point. But, a series of opponent errors and three kills apiece from Robinson and Cruz closed the book on UF's first-round match.

The Gators have now won 22 of their last 23 matches. SEMO (23-8) has won 19 straight after capturing their first NCAA Tournament win. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the contest live at 6:50 p.m.

Arkansas-Little Rock vs Florida (Nov 30, 2000 at Gainesville, Fla.)

Florida def. Arkansas-Little Rock 15-2,15-6,15-4

Arkansas-Little Rock (27-5) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Raquel Sampaio 6-0-1; Tanja Radovic 6-1-1; Jelena Radovanovic 4-0-1; Marijana Bego 3-0-1; 17. (Dig leaders) - Jelena Radovanovic 9; Tanja Radovic 6

Florida (28-4) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Aury Cruz 13-0-0; Niki Hartley 10-1-2; Nicole McCray 7-1-3; Jacque Robinson 7-0-3; Benavia Jenkins 6-0-2; Kris Bova 3-1-1; Jerilyn Hattendorf 0-1-0; Kelli Notestine 0-3-0; Totals 46-7-7.0. (Assists) - Kris Bova 39. (Dig leaders) - Niki Hartley 11; Aury Cruz 7

Site: Gainesville, Fla. (O'Connell Center)

Date: Nov 30, 2000 Attend: 1354 Time: 1:02

Referees: Dennis Goodwin, Patty Salvatore

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