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Benavia Jenkins tallied 10 kills and six blocks in UF's win over Kentucky in the SEC Tournament

Friday November 22, 2002Gator VB Sweeps Kentucky in SEC Tournament

Fayetteville, AR

Benavia Jenkins tallied 10 kills and six blocks in UF's win over Kentucky in the SEC Tournament

Three Florida players registered double digits in kills, and the Gators tallied 12 blocks as the Gators defeated Kentucky 3-0 (30-19, 30-19, 30-17) Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

"I think that was as good an SEC match that we have had in a while," said Florida Head Coach Mary Wise. "Nicole McCray was our emotional leader who played so well today and certainly had the team playing hard. When we block balls, I think that we can be very difficult to score points on and I think that was the case today."

Kentucky got on the board first in the match, but Florida (27-1) quickly tied it. The Gators took a 2-1 lead on a block by Benavia Jenkins (Fort Pierce, Fla.) and Jacque Robinson (Merced, Calif.). After a long rally on the next play, Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.) set up Jenkins, who paused for a moment before ending the rally with a strong kill. Kentucky (13-16) worked its way to a tie with the Gators at 5-5 before Florida scored two straight on kills by Robinson and Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas). The Gators took a 13-10 lead, then went on a 3-0 run to take the 16-10 advantage. The Wildcats answered with a 3-0 run of their own to close to within three, but a four-hits violation halted their run. Up 17-14, the Gators shot out to 23-14 lead, forcing Kentucky to call a timeout. The Wildcats could not recover, and Florida took game one 30-19.

Game two began much like the first stanza, as both teams battled to a 6-6 tie. Florida then opened up a 6-1 run that included kills by Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.), Moscovic and McCray. With the Gators holding a 13-9 lead, Florida’s front line single-handedly took several points from Kentucky, as Robinson, Jenkins and Chatman all recorded solo blocks. Florida increased its lead to 20-12 before the Wildcats added two straight to cut the Gator margin to six. With the Florida advantage at 25-16, Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) came in after a Kentucky timeout and quickly made her presence known. On her first play, Williams and Robinson combined for a block to give the Gators a double digit lead at 16-16. The Wildcats added two points before a Robinson kill stopped Kentucky’s run. Williams added a kill in her reserve role, which Aury Cruz (Levittown Puerto Rico) followed with her second service ace of the match. Another Robinson kill finished out the game 30-19.

The start of game three was the same story as the two teams worked to a 6-6 tie. The Gators then scored two straight on a McCray kill and a Jenkins/Cruz block. Kentucky answered with one point before Florida added two more, this time on a Cruz kill and a Moscovic ace to take an 11-7 lead. The Wildcats added one more point before the Gators opened up a 10-0 run behind the serving of Cruz. During that run, Robinson tallied two kills while Jenkins again proved why she is one of the top blockers in the country, notching her second solo block of the match. After Kentucky scored one point, Williams re-entered for the Gators and once again contributed right away with a kill. With the Gators ahead 23-12, Ellen Rehme (Indianapolis, Ind.) started a 2-0 serving run that put Florida ahead 25-12. The Wildcats went on a 3-0 run of their own to cut the Gator lead to 10. Chatman answered to give Florida the 26-15 lead. Rehme added a kill as the Gators took the final game 30-17.

Robinson tallied a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs, and McCray also added 12 kills and hit .611 in the win. Jenkins also registered double digits in kills with 10 and added six blocks.

For Kentucky, Liz McCaslin led the Wildcats with seven kills, while Toni Lee added seven digs. Amy Kaplan led all Kentucky players in blocks with 5 in the loss.

Florida will face the winner of the Georgia vs. LSU match, which will be played Friday night at 9 p.m. EST. Earlier in the tournament, No. 7-seed Alabama upset No. 2-seed South Carolina 3-0.


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