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Senior Aury Cruz was named the MVP of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational

Saturday August 30, 2003No. 3 VB Sweeps BYU, Wins Campus USA Invite

Gainesville, FL

Senior Aury Cruz was named the MVP of the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational

With a 3-0 (30-24, 30-19, 30-21) sweep of BYU, the No. 3 Florida volleyball team won the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. The Gators (4-1) saw three players in double digits in kills, including tournament Most Valuable Player Aury Cruz.

Cruz scored 21 points on 16 kills, two aces and three blocks for the match, and on the weekend, Cruz tallied 47 kills on a 5.22 kills per game clip. The senior also added 12 digs against BYU. Sherri Williams and Benavia Jenkins, who were also named to the all-tournament team, each added double-digit kills of 45 and 10, respectively to pace the Gators’ to their fourth straight victory. On the defensive side, libero Jen Mandes notched 17 digs, and both Williams and Amber McCray added four blocks in the winning effort.

BYU took the lead in game one early on a kill from Carrie Bowers and two straight kills from Lindsey Metcalf. Florida then tied the game on a Cruz kill and two Cougar hitting errors. The teams traded points until BYU went on a 3-0 run with the scored tied at 5-5 to take an 8-5 lead. The Cougars extended their advantage to 10-6 and held a four-point lead at 11-7 before the Gators rattled off three points in a row to get to within one at 11-10. Florida saw its first solid lead of the match come after Metcalf’s serving error gave the Gators the serve. A Jane Collymore kill followed by a BYU hitting error gave the Gators a 19-16 lead. Behind the serving of Jenkins, the Gators took control of the momentum at the end of the game and took a 1-0 advantage in the match with a 30-24 win in the first game.

Game two proved to be much smoother for the Gators as they rattled off seven straight points to take the 7-1 advantage. BYU would scratch points together at times, but Florida remained in control of the game. After the initial Gator run, the closest the Cougars would get was within four points at 7-3, and Florida took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 30-19 win in the second stanza.

Florida’s Collymore led the Gators to a 6-0 lead in game three with a six-point serving run that included three kills from Cruz. Once again, BYU was able to put together runs of more than two points just twice during the game, including a four-point run with the serving of Lauren Richards. Florida took the deciding game by a final tally of 30-21.

For the Cougars, Bowers tallied 13 kills and two blocks for 15 points on the match, while three Cougars tallied double-digits in digs. Lindsy Hartsock led BYU with five blocks.

In the first match of the day, American edged out Rutgers 3-2 (34-32, 25-30, 30-26, 27-30, 15-11) in a match that lasted close to two-and-a-half hours. Karla Kucerkova led the Eagles with 29 kills and 19 digs, while Cutrina Biddulph added 17 kills in the winning effort. For the Scarlet Knights, Dawn Christjaener tallied 25 kills and led three other players in double figures in kills. Shayla Bush added 16 digs on the defensive side.

Cruz was named the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational MVP, while Jenkins and Williams joined her from Florida. Joining them were BYU’s Bowers and Richards, American’s Kucerkova and Rutgers’ Dawn Christjaener.

Florida now travels to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational next Friday and Saturday. The Gators will face UC Santa Barbara on Friday and Stanford on Saturday. Both matches will be at 8 p.m. EST.

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