Friday November 15, 2002VB Sweeps South Carolina, Wins SEC Championship
Lauren Moscovic recorded three service aces in Florida's 3-0 win over South Carolina
Behind Aury Cruz’s 18 kills and Lauren Moscovic’s 13 digs, the fourth-ranked Florida Gator volleyball team swept No. 18 South Carolina 3-0 (30-15, 30-27, 30-23) Friday in front of 3,123 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. With the win, the Gators claim their 12th straight regular season Southeastern Conference title.
"Each (championship) is special, and it’s special because the players change, the team changes and there’s different challenges each year," said UF Head Coach Mary Wise. "All of us in the program know it’s special, and we work for an athletic director who always reminds us how special SEC Championships are. One of the keys to our success is no one has taken winning for granted."
Nicole McCray continued her hot streak, recording 12 kills with no errors in 18 attacks for a .667 hitting efficiency. In two matches against South Carolina, who was ranked in the Top 25 both times, McCray has recorded 28 kills with no errors in 40 attacks for a .700 hitting percentage.
Florida (25-1, 15-0 SEC) started out the match scoring the first two points on a Cruz kill and an attack error by the Gamecocks. South Carolina (20-5, 13-2 SEC) quickly came back and tied it at 3-3. The Gators then took the lead for good in game one. With a 15-12 lead, Florida opened a 5-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. After the Gamecocks scored, the Gators went on another 5-0 run to grab the 25-13 advantage. Florida closed out the game with a 5-3 run and took game one 30-16.
Game two began much like the first game, as Florida quickly took a 6-0 lead with kills from McCray and Jacque Robinson and a kill and service ace from Benavia Jenkins. South Carolina slowly worked its way back into the game, closing the Gators’ margin to just two points at 12-10. With Florida holding a 26-20 lead, the Gamecocks turned up the heat, going on a 7-1 run to knot the game at 27-27. Two Cruz kills with a Gamecock hitting error in between closed out game two 30-27.
In game three, South Carolina took an 11-7 lead before Florida responded with four straight points to tie the game at 12-12. South Carolina scored on the next play on a Gator service error, but Florida tied it at 13-13 on a Cruz kill. The Gators then took the lead on a service ace from Cruz and never relinquished the lead. South Carolina came within two points at 24-22, but Florida quickly put up two straight points to shut down the momentum. The Gators took game three 30-23 to wrap up the SEC title.
"The crowd was awesome," said Moscovic. "They were really getting into it when we needed them and it’s always great to play in front of a lot of people."
Cruz led all players with 18 kills, while McCray added 12. Cruz also added 10 digs for her 12th double-double of the season. Moscovic had an outstanding night, with 13 digs, 38 assists, three service aces and a kill.
For South Carolina, Niece Curry’s 10 kills led the team, while Megan Hosp’s eight digs were a team-high.
Florida hosts Kentucky on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. for Senior Day. The volleyball team will honor seniors Nicole McCray and Jessica Riester for their contributions to the program.