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Playing only 233 miles from her hometown, Nicole McCray led Flordia with a season-high 12 kills.

Monday September 24, 2001Gator Volleyball Blocks to 3-0 Sweep of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas

Playing only 233 miles from her hometown, Nicole McCray led Flordia with a season-high 12 kills.

After moving up to ninth in the latest USA Today/AVCA poll, the Florida volleyball team was in Austin, Texas, tonight to take on the 23rd-ranked Texas Longhorns. The Gators blocked a total of 14 attempts to roar to a decisive 3-0 (30-23, 30-13, 30-17) win over UT.

The Florida service game added 14 aces to the cause. Aury Cruz had a career-high six aces and Lauren Moscovic had three to lead the Gators. Nicole McCray (12 kills) and Niki Hartley and Aury Cruz (11 kills each) keyed the offensive attack for the Gators. Benavia Jenkins and McCray were the keys on the defensive, combining for 7.5 of UF's 14 blocks.

This is the 13th chapter of a storied rivalry between these two teams. Of the previous 12 matches in the series, half have been played in the NCAA Tournament and half have gone to five games.

"The stat that sticks out to me is that Texas only has one ace and we had 14 aces," Head Coach Mary Wise said.

"We were very fleet of foot in the back row and we have the quickness to get to some balls."

Florida (6-1/1-0 SEC) got the advantage of several questionable calls to begin the first game. It jumped out to a 7-4 lead and extended that lead to 11-5 on kills by Nicole McCray, Jacque Robinson and an ace by Lauren Moscovic. UF had an 11-5 lead before Texas (7-2/2-0 Big XII) called a timeout in an effort to thwart the Gator run. Texas scored two points to come out of the time out, but that was answered by two kills by McCray, who is playing only 233 miles from her hometown of Longview, Texas. UF pushed its advantage to 19-12 when UT called another timeout. The Longhorns made an effort to make the game tighter, but would get no closer than 21-17. Florida went on an 8-4 run to get to game point. The Gators would in the first stanza two points later on the fourth kill of the match from the left side from Niki Hartley. Florida hit .244 in the first game and had three blocks.

Game 2 started out with back-to-back aces by Hartley. The Gator front line blocked several balls and aided Florida in gaining an 8-3 advantage early in the second game. McCray killed a ball and assisted on another with Hartley to give UF a 17-8 advantage, its largest to that point of the second game. Moscovic, who was battling a stomach virus all day, served seven consecutive points of a, 8-0 Florida run to push its lead to 23-8. After a kill by Robinson to make it 29-13, Aury Cruz served up an ace to secure the 2-0 lead for Florida going into the break. The Gator front line accounted for six blocks in the second game and hit .350 as a team. Hartley had two aces and five kills in the second game.

Texas had its first lead of the match at 4-3 before Florida came back to take a 6-4 lead. The serving of Moscovic put up another four points as Florida extended to a 10-5 lead. A Kris Bova kill, a block by McCray and Bova, a hitting error and another kill by McCray pushed the lead to 14-7 for the Gators. McCray added two more kills to assist Florida in its 21-13 lead. Florida had a 25-15 advantage after a kill by Robinson. Texas scored its next point on a UF service error before Robinson killed another ball. The longest rally of the match ended with a kill by Cruz which also ended the match for the Gators, taking the third game 30-17.

The Gators return home this weekend for their first full weekend of SEC play. Florida will take on Kentucky on Friday at 7 p.m. at the O'Connell Center before hosting Tennessee on Sunday at 2 p.m.

End of Report

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