Sunday August 24, 2003No. 3 VB Defeats No. 15 Kansas State 3-1
Behind 22 kills and 17 digs from Aury Cruz, who scored 25.5 points for the match, and three other Gators in double figures in kills, the third-ranked Florida volleyball team defeated No. 15 Kansas State 3-1 (30-16, 30-26, 29-31, 30-22).
Florida won the match despite recording 20 service errors - more than any match during the 2002 season.
"Last time we played in this arena in 1998, we were up 2-0 to Ohio State and missed 21 serves. I think it's the garlic fries - there is no other explanation for the service errors. Had we not serve-erred our way out of game three, perhaps we would have won in three," said UF Head Coach Mary Wise. "Certainly K-State played so much better after game one - game one came relatively easy and we had no answer for Lauren Goehring. You can see why she's the Big 12 preseason Co-Player of the Year. I think the difference in this match was our blocking by our middles and the ability to get double digit kills by four different players."
Florida got on the board first in the match with three straight points - the first two on blocks and the third on a kill from Lauren Moscovic. After the Gators took a 4-1 lead, Kansas State worked its way to a 5-5 tie. As the teams traded points for the next few rallies, Cruz scored the Gators' next four points to give Florida a 9-7 advantage. With Florida leading 13-11, Benavia Jenkins went on a seven-point serving run to give UF a 20-11 lead. Three kills from Sherri Williams and two kills from Jane Collymore aided that run. Florida's largest lead came at 28-14, when Jenkins and Jacque Robinson combined for a block. The Wildcats could not stop Florida in the first game, as the Gators took the opening stanza 30-16.
As they did in the first game, the Gators struck first in game two with a block by Jenkins and Robinson. The Wildcats came out firing and answered with two straight points to take their first lead of the match, but Florida quickly regained the lead after a kill from Jenkins and a hitting error by Kansas State. With the Gators leading 7-5 after a kill from Cruz, Kansas State scored two straight points to tie the game at 7-7. The Wildcats matched Florida point for point until the Gators scored three straight points behind the serving of Cruz to give Florida a 17-14 advantage. With UF leading 21-16, the Wildcats rattled off four straight points to close to within one at 21-20, forcing Florida to use a timeout. Kansas State tied the game on the next play with a service ace, but the momentum was stopped after a Wildcat service error gave Florida back the lead at 22-21. The Wildcats rallied again, tying the game at 24-24, but Florida closed out the game scoring six of the last eight points to take the game 30-26.
Kansas State got on the board first in the third game, scoring two straight before the Gators scored their first point on a kill from Jenkins. It was Florida's turn to match the Wildcats point for point, and with Kansas State leading 9-7, the Gators scored two straight points to tie it at 9-9. After trading points again for more than a dozen rallies, Florida took its first lead of the game after a Jenkins kill tied it and a block by Jenkins and Moscovic gave UF the 17-16 advantage. The Gators scored another point before Kansas State answered with two straight to tie the game at 18-18. Cruz answered herself with a kill, but the Wildcats regained the lead at 20-19 after a service ace. Kansas State took a 22-20 lead, forcing the Gators to call a timeout. Coming out of the break, Florida scored on a Cruz kill to pull to within one at 22-21. After the Wildcats answered with a point, a kill from Robinson got UF back to within one. Kansas State took a two-point lead before the Gators answered with two straight points to tie the game at 25-25 and force the Wildcats to burn a timeout. The Gators grabbed the lead after the stoppage with a Cruz kill and a double-hit by Kansas State. A Gator hitting error followed by a Wildcat service ace knotted the game at 27-27. After Florida had a chance to end the match at 29-28, the Wildcats rallied for three straight points to force a game four.
After Florida scored first in the fourth game and took a 6-4 lead, Kansas State answered with three straight points to take the 7-4 advantage. The Gators then rattled off three points on kills from Robinson, Williams and Cruz, respectively, to take a 9-7 lead. The Wildcats scored on the next play to close to within one point, but Cruz and Collymore countered with kills to give the Gators an 11-8 lead. With a 13-11 advantage, Robinson began a three-point rally with a kill, and after the Wildcats answered with two points of their own, Jenkins notched a kill to give Florida a four-point lead at 17-13. The Gators extended their lead to five points at 19-14 and to six at 24-18 before Kansas State called a timeout. Florida's largest lead of the game came at the final tally of 30-22.
Williams set a career-high in kills with 10, and Collymore equaled her career-best in kills with 10 as well. Jen Mandes added 12 digs, while Jenkins tallied eight blocks on the match. For the Wildcats, Lauren Goehring tallied a team-high 15 kills, and Cari Jensen added a double double with 11 kills and 11 digs in the effort.
Florida's Cruz and Jenkins were named to the NACWAA All-Tournament team, and the seniors were joined by KSU's Goehring, Hawaii's Lily Kahumoku and Kim Willoughby and USC's Keao Burdine and April Ross, who was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
The Gators return home for the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational beginning Friday, Aug. 29. Florida will face Rutgers at 2 p.m. and American at 8 p.m., and the Gators will square off against BYU Saturday, Aug. 30 at 3:30 p.m.