Friday September 27, 2002VB Sweeps Ole Miss, Ties NCAA Record
The third-ranked University of Florida volleyball team swept Mississippi 3-0 (30-21, 30-22, 30-28) Friday in both teams' Southeastern Conference opener, and in the process, tied the NCAA record for most consecutive regular season league wins with 99.
The Gators equaled the record set by Western Michigan in the Mid-American Conference from 1982-1989. Florida is the only team in the top 10 list with an active streak.
"When Western Michigan set the record, it looked like one that would stand for a long time, as it has," said UF Head Coach Mary Wise. "The number of wins is a reflection of the players over the years and them not taking a game off."
The Gators (11-1, 1-0) got on the board first, but with the score tied at 2-2, Ole Miss (6-6, 0-1) began a 4-0 run to quickly take a 6-2 lead. Florida answered with a 4-0 run of its own, powered by three kills from Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif.), tying the score at 6-6. After the Lady Rebels took a 13-11 lead, redshirt sophomore Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) entered the match and immediately made an impact, tallying her first kill of the night, bringing the Gators to within one point at 13-12. Florida then began building a small lead, and with the score 20-18 in the Gators' favor, Florida went on a 5-1 run to open up a 25-29 lead and would win the first game 30-21.
Game two began much like the first game, as the Lady Rebels jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico), however, would help give the Gators a 6-2 lead with her serving. Robinson would also put together a nice serving run, as Florida scored six straight points to open up a 15-4 lead. Ole Miss would cut into the Gators' lead several times and would get to within four points, but Florida took game two 30-22.
In game three, senior captain Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas) continued where she left off in game two, pacing the Gators with three kills and a block in the beginning portion of the stanza. Florida built a 17-10 lead and saw its lead grow to as many as nine at 20-11. The Lady Rebels would not go away quietly, though, and tried several times to come back. The pair of McCray and Cruz guided the Gators to the win in game three, scoring the majority of the final points as Florida won the deciding game 30-18.
"In many ways, the match was won on the defensive end and in what Aury gave us with 18 digs in three games," said Wise.
For the fourth time in the last five matches, Robinson has tallied at least 13 kills for Florida, as she registered 14 for Florida against the Lady Rebels. McCray added 14 kills as well, and Cruz led both teams in digs with 18. For Ole Miss, Elena Garcia tallied a team-high nine kills and 11 digs in the loss.
Florida continues its road swing Sunday at Mississippi State. The Gators face the Bulldogs at 3 p.m. EST, and the match will be aired live on WRUF-AM850.