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Benavia Jenkins hit .923 against UCF, with 12 kills and no errors in 13 attacks.

Friday December 6, 2002VB Wins 1st Round of NCAA Tourney, USF Advances

Gainesville, FL

Benavia Jenkins hit .923 against UCF, with 12 kills and no errors in 13 attacks.

The University of Florida volleyball team started its run for a NCAA Championship with a 3-0 (30-14, 30-20, 30-21) first-round win in the NCAA tournament over UCF Friday night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The Gators improved to 31-2 on the season and won their 12th consecutive first round match. UCF concluded its season at 22-13.

Florida will host in-state rival South Florida at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the O’Connell Center in the second round of the NCAA Championships.

"We thought this was a match that if we could control the ball well we could get kills out of the middle because of our size," said UF Head Coach Mary Wise. "That certainly proved to be the case. The third game was what we thought would be typical of the entire match. Central Florida is a very good team. They pass the ball well. (We knew) we wouldn't be able to run points easily on Central Florida. They are too good of a sideout team. We were fortunate enough tonight that our sideout was just a little better." Florida hit .440 for the match, which is the highest hitting efficiency for the Gators in an NCAA Tournament match. Florida's previous high was .394, recorded last year against Florida A&M.

The Gators were led by Jenkins, who hit .923 with 12 kills and no errors on 13 attacks. Aury Cruz added 12 kills and 11 digs, while Lauren Moscovic recorded 10 digs. Nicole McCray's five blocks were a match-high.

UF jumped on the Golden Knights early in the first game and led by as many as sixteen in its game one victory. Jenkins led the Gators with a game-high seven kills, while Moscovic had a game-high eight assists.

UCF hung with Florida in the early part of game two and were tied at 9-9 when the Gators went on a 6-1 run to make it 15-10, forcing the Golden Knights to call a timeout. UCF came out of the timeout and grabbed the first two points to make it 15-12, but the Gators answered with a 10-3 run of their own to open up the second game 25-15.

The Gators got off to a slow start in the third game and trailed UCF 15-13 midway through it, but turned it on with a 14-5 run to retake the lead at 27-20, and put the game and the match out of reach for the Golden Knights.

In the first match of the night, South Florida defeated Florida State 3-0 (30-21, 30-19, 30-28). USF improved to 30-6 overall, while the Seminoles concluded their season with a 21-13 record.

The Bulls were led by Michelle Collier’s 18 kills and five service aces. Jolene Patton was the Bulls other player in double-figures of kills with 10. Alessandra Domingos had a match-high 36 assists for USF. The Seminoles were led by Erica Bunch’s 12 kills, while Jennifer Anderson had 33 assists for FSU.

"We played a solid match tonight. We were able to keep Florida State to .071 hitting percentage," said South Florida Head Coach Nancy Mueller. "That is very good blocking by us against a good team. For us to have 12 blocks for the game is some of the best we've had all year long. I think we played very steady and were able to maintain a high level of play."

This is the 27th meeting between the Gators and the Bulls, and Florida leads the series 23-3. Under Wise, the Gators are undefeated against South Florida at 11-0.

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