Saturday September 4, 1999Florida Volleyball Sweeps Two in SunTrust Invite
No. 8 Florida swept both Iowa (15-3, 15-5, 15-6) and Western Michigan (15-7, 16-14, 15-8) in its home season opener Saturday in the Suntrust Invitational at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Jenny Manz and Jenny Whitehead led the Gator offensive effort both posting 21 kills on the day. Freshman Nicole McCray recorded a season and career-high .722 hitting percentage against WMU with 15 kills, while adding six block assists and four digs.
Florida (4-1, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) found itself in a second-game battle against Western Michigan (1-2, 0-0 MAC) after a 15-7 first game showing. The Gators trailed by as many as six at one point before rallying to tie at 14-14 and eventually take the win.
According to senior all-American Jenny Manz, the team had to re-group and focus on a clean service return. "We had to re-focus definitely on our passing," Manz said. "They were using a floating service and sometimes that's difficult to read."
Gator head coach Mary Wise was pleased with her team's performance against WMU and is excited about facing third-ranked Nebraska's defense Sunday.
"It was good for us to come back in game two and win in three games," Wise said. "We're looking forward to NU. It's one of the best blocking teams in the country. Our goal is to match them block-for-block."
In Florida's first match of the tournament, Florida's Jerilyn Hattendorf pounded 10 kills for a .471 hitting efficiency. The junior posted six digs, two service aces and one block assist in the first meeting of the schools since 1996 giving the Gators a 2-1 edge in the all-time series. Florida out-hit (35-19), out-dug (31-26) and out-blocked (6-4) the Hawkeyes (0-2, 0-0 Big Ten.)
The Gators cruised through the first game against Iowa (0-2, 0-0 Big Ten) in 15 minutes of play as Nicole McCray served three consecutive aces to take the early lead. In the second game, UI fell victim to another early Gator scoring attack and failed to recover. Game 3 proved more difficult as Iowa fought back to tie at 4-4 before Florida scored nine unanswered points to seal the win.
In other tournament action, No. 3 Nebraska (3-2, 0-0 Big XII) defeated Western Michigan in three games (15-3, 15-7, 15-13) at the 12 p.m. match. The Huskers were fueled by senior Mandy Monson's 12 kills, two service aces and eight digs. Tonia Tauke posted 10 kills and led all hitters with a .692 hitting percentage. Lindsay Wischmeier and Angie Oxley led Nebraska's defensive effort with 13 digs, apiece.
UN swept Iowa in the final match of the day by scores of 15-10, 15-3, and 15-3. UN's Mandy Monson led all hitters with a .500 hitting percentage (7-3-14.) Nancy Meendering added 13 kills, four digs and six block assists. Iowa's Julie Williams had 12 kills, six digs and one service ace.
Tourmament action continues Sunday as Florida takes on Nebraska at 2 p.m. and Iowa and Western Michigan face each other for the 11:30 a.m. match. WRUF-AM 850 and the Sunshine Network will broadcast the Florida-Nebraska match live. For tickets call (352) 375-GoUF.