Sunday September 22, 2002VB Sweeps Eagles, Wins American Classic
Powered by five serving runs of six points or more and at least two kills by all six starters, the No. 3 Gator volleyball team swept the American Eagles 3-0 (30-17, 30-11, 30-18) in the championship match of the American Volleyball Classic Sunday.
With the serving of freshman Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.), the Gators (9-1) opened the match with a 7-0 run, with four of those points coming off blocks. Florida extended its lead to 11 points at 20-9 before American scored three consecutive points to move to within eight at 20-12. Engel would again go on a long serving run to put the Gators up 28-14, and Florida won the first game 30-17.
The Eagles (8-6) scored the first point of game two, but Florida quickly took over the momentum, as Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla.) powered a nine-point serving run to take the Gators to a 12-2 lead. Jenkins registered two aces and Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) notched two of her ** kills during that run.
Game three saw American turn up the intensity from the first two games, but Engel once again put the Gators farther ahead with a 7-0 serving run that gave Florida the 19-9 advantage. American would not get any closer than eight points in the final game, and the Gators took the final game 30-18.
Cruz was named the Tournament MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team by fellow Gator Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif.). For American, Courtney Mulford and Judit Szekelyhidi were named to the all-tournament team, as well as Yale's Taryn Gallup and Penn State's Syndie Nadeau.
Florida returns home to face in-state rival Florida State Tuesday at 7 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on Sunshine and on WRUF-AM850. The Gators then begin Southeastern Conference action next weekend against Ole Miss and Mississippi State.