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Sunday November 3, 2002No. 3 Gator Volleyball Sweeps Tennessee 3-0

Gainesville, FL

The No. 3 Florida volleyball team continued its dominance of the Southeastern Conference with a 3-0 sweep (30-15, 30-15, 30-18) of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers in front of 2,013 fans at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center Sunday afternoon.

The Florida defense was sharp as they held the Lady Vols to a -.029 hitting percentage with only 20 kills for the match. Prior to today's contest, Tennessee had not recorded fewer than 40 kills in a match this season.

Florida (22-1, 12-0 SEC) got on the board first with a kill from Aury Cruz (Levittown, Puerto Rico). After building a 5-4 lead, Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla.) began a 6-0 serving run that gave the Gators the 11-4 advantage. That run, which came after three service aces by the Gators, included three kills from Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas), who has continued her dominant play. After taking a 21-11 lead, the Gators never relinquished the double-digit advantage and won the first game 30-15. Four players hit .400 or better, and Florida held Tennessee (17-8, 6-6 SEC) to a -.033 hitting efficiency.

The Gators again took the lead to begin the second game, and after trading points, Florida took a 5-3 lead on a McCray kill. Tennessee answered with two straight points to knot the game at 5-5. The Gators then scored five straight points, including a kill from Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) and a service ace by Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif.) to take a 10-5 lead. After allowing just one point to the Lady Vols, Florida opened up an 8-1 run for the 18-7 advantage.

The Gators' offense slowed down in game three, but it was Florida's defense that made the difference. The Gators out-blocked Tennessee 4-1 and registered 14 of its 50 digs in game three. The Lady Vols got on the board first on a Cruz error and took a 3-0 lead before the Gators scored their first point. A few plays later, Florida put together an 8-0 run to take the lead 9-4. Jenkins turned it up in game three, recording four of her nine kills in the deciding game. A Jenkins kill from Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.) ended the game and the match at 30-18.

McCray and Chatman led the match with 12 kills apiece. Chatman had a .688 hitting efficiency (12-1-16) for the match to lead the team. Cruz turned in her 11th double-double performance this season, as she tallied 10 kills and 13 digs.

The victory extends Florida's win streak to 19 matches, and the team has swept its last four opponents.

Florida will travel to the state of Alabama when they take on Alabama Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. EST and then Auburn on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. EST. Both matches will be broadcast live on WRUF-AM850 and on www.gatorzone.com.

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