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Sunday September 22, 2002VB Sweeps Eagles, Wins American Classic

Washington, DC

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.


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