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Friday October 4, 2002Volleyball Sweeps Tennessee, Extends Streak

Knoxville, TN

The No. 3 Florida Gators swept Tennessee 3-0 (30-22, 30-24, 30-24) Friday in Southeastern Conference volleyball action at the Stokely Athletic Center in Knoxville. The win marks the ninth consecutive time the Gators have swept the Lady Vols.

With the win, Florida extends its NCAA-record streak of consecutive regular season conference wins to 102.

Florida got on the board first when Tennessee could not return a Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif.) dig. The Gators scored two more times, the last time on a block by Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico) and Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla.). The two teams traded points for several plays before Cruz powered a 6-0 run that included three kills by Jenkins and two straight service aces by Cruz. With the Gators ahead 12-6, Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas) tallied three straight kills to give Florida a 15-6 advantage. The Lady Vols would get to within five points, but Florida would hold on to win game one 30-22.

Game two proved to be much tighter, as Tennessee took its first lead of the match at 5-4. The Lady Vols matched Florida point for point until the game was tied 11-11. Behind the serving of Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.), however, the Gators went on a 5-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Florida's lead would grow to seven at 20-13 before Tennessee scored two straight to move to within five. The Gators' lead would shrink to as few as four points before Florida put away game two 30-24.

The Gators got on the board first in game three on a kill by Jenkins. Florida and Tennessee traded serves after each team recorded two service errors. With the score tied at 7-7, the Gators scored three straight points - the first two on a kill by Cruz and a block by Cruz and Jenkins - to take a 10-7 lead. Tennessee worked its way to within two at 11-9 before Florida again went on a run to go ahead 14-9. With a 23-17 lead, Florida's Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) registered a kill to put the Gators back up by seven. After the Lady Vols scored on the next play, Chatman answered with another kill of her own. Moscovic also registered a kill to put the Gators ahead 27-20. After Tennessee battled back to within four at 28-24, the Gators took the deciding game 30-24.

Cruz led the Gators in kills with 16, while three other Florida players registered double digits in kills. Cruz's 11 digs also led the team, and Jenkins' three blocks was good for the team-high.

For Tennessee, Michelle Piantadosi led the team with 14 kills, followed by Janelle Hester with 11. Three Lady Vols shared the team-lead in digs with five.

Florida returns home for a four-match home stand beginning Friday, Oct. 11 against Mississippi State. That match will begin at 9 p.m. to coincide with Midnight Madness. The Gators then face Mississippi on Sunday, Oct. 13, beginning at 1 p.m.

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