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In another marathon match in the State Farm/NACWAA Volleyball Classic, the eighth ranked Florida volleyball team fell to No. 6 Pacific 3-2 (15-9, 14-16, 10-15, 15-9, 10-15) in a second record-setting contest Saturday night at the Nebraska Coliseum. The Gators' runner-up finish was their best performance at the tournament, and Pacific earned its first NACWAA title in its first appearance.

Jenny Manz (Orange Park, Fla./Middleburg) and Jen Sanchez (San Antonio, Texas/Providence) represented Florida on the All-Tournament Team. Sanchez, en route to helping set the school single-match record for assists (97), career-highed for the second-straight night with 86 assists. Manz produced yet another outstanding performance with 25 kills, 11 digs and four blocks.

Four other Gators also set career highs: Heather Wright (25 kills), Nicole McCray (18 kills), Jenny Whitehead (27 kills) and Jerilyn Hattendorf (25 kills). The team combined for a school single-match record 106 kills.

The Gators rolled out to a 13-3, first game lead, but some hitting miscues and timing troubles earned four Pacific points. The Tigers tagged on two more, and Florida served six game points before finally putting them away. The Gators could not find an answer for Pacific's All-American Elsa Stegemann, who put up a game-high 10 kills, in that series. She went on to post a career-high, and school, and 14-year-old Nebraska Coliseum record 39 kills.

"The difference in the match was Elsa lighting it up with 39 kills," Head Coach Mary Wise said. "We couldn't find an answer for her. We learned a great deal from these two matches. You can't buy this experience. To be (only) this far along and go toe-to-toe with Pacific…I'm really pleased with our effort."

Florida battled back from a 5-0 deficit in game two and was approaching a 2-0 match lead at 14-13, but Pacific capitalized on a UF service error and earned the game. Seven Florida serving errors to only one such Pacific error made the difference in the 45 minute game.

After trailing in hitting efficiency through two games (.314-.282), the Tigers, meanwhile produced a .440 hitting percentage (25-3-50) to the Gators' .294. Pacific shut down Florida's offense with a 4-2 blocking advantage and 16 digs.

A fourth-game comeback was thwarted by the fifth game Pacific win. The Tigers hit above the .400 mark again, too much for Florida's .318 effort.

The Gators travel to Jacksonville University Wednesday, Sept. 1. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the 7 p.m. match live.

Florida volleyball vs. Pacific--Nebraska Coliseum, Lincoln, Neb.

No. 6 FPacific 3, No. 8 Florida 2

State Farm/NACWAA--Finals

All-Tournament Team

Elsa Stegemann-Pacific (MVP)

Jenny Manz-Florida

Jen Sanchez-Florida

Tanja Dimitrijevic-Pacific

Lauren Cacciamani-Penn State

Nancy Meendering-Nebraska


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