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Saturday September 20, 2003No. 3 VB Sweeps Northwestern, Wins Wildcat Classic

Evanston, IL

In their second match in a seven-hour span, the third-ranked Florida Gators swept Northwestern 3-0 (30-18, 30-20, 30-20) in volleyball action Saturday night at the Wildcat Classic hosted by Northwestern University. Jane Collymore picked up where she left off from the Gators' first match Saturday with 12 kills, while Aury Cruz tallied 20 kills and 10 digs in the win.

For Florida (11-1), Benavia Jenkins also added 10 kills and five blocks, while Jen Mandes tallied seven digs in the effort.

Northwestern began the match with a 3-0 run before the Gators got on the board on a kill from Aury Cruz. Sherri Williams and Cruz combined for a block on the next play to pull to within one at 3-2. After the Wildcats answered with a point, Lauren Moscovic's kill brought the Gators back to within one, and Florida tied the game at 4-4 on the next play. The teams traded points on the next few serves, but Williams and Collymore strung together two straight kills to give Florida the 9-7 advantage. With the Gators leading 10-9, Florida went on a 3-0 run made up of kills from Benavia Jenkins and Cruz and a block by Jenkins and Cruz. The Gators worked their way to a five-point lead at 18-13 before forcing the Wildcats into their first timeout. Florida then turned the heat up, as Jenkins and Williams tallied kills and the Gators added several blocks to surge out to a 10-point lead at 25-15 before Northwestern used its final timeout of the game. Florida's lead grew to as many as 12 points before the Gators closed out game one with the 30-18 win on a kill by Jenkins.

Game two was a battle from the start as neither team took more than a two-point lead in the first half of the game. Anytime the Gators would put a run of two points together, Northwestern would answer with a point or two of its own. With Florida leading 13-12, the Gators went on a 3-0 run to take their largest lead of the game at 16-12 before the Wildcats called a timeout to try to stop Florida's momentum. Coming out of the stoppage, the Wildcats scored two straight points to come to within two at 16-14 before Cruz hammered a kill that stopped the run before it really got started. Collymore and Cruz again followed with a kill to give Florida the 20-14 advantage. The Gators extended that lead to 24-15 to force the Wildcats into their final timeout. Florida's largest lead of the game came at 27-16 on a kill from Jenkins, and the Gators took a 2-0 lead in the match with the 30-20 win in the second stanza.

Game three started with Florida taking a 2-0 lead, but Northwestern quickly went ahead 4-3. The Gators then went on a 5-1 run that included kills from Cruz and Williams and a block by Williams and Michelle Chatman to give Florida the 8-5 advantage. Leading 10-8, the Gators put together a four-point run that included kills from Jenkins and Moscovic to take a 14-8 lead before Northwestern called a timeout. Florida worked its way to a nine-point lead at 19-10 on a service ace by Jenkins. After the Wildcats scored on the next play, Cruz notched a kill in one of Florida's longest rallies of the season to keep the Gators at a nine-point advantage, 20-11. Northwestern battled throughout the rest of the match, but Florida remained in control and won the deciding game 30-20.

For Northwestern (9-3), Erika Lange tallied a team-high 14 kills, while Drew Robertson added seven digs in the loss.

Earlier on Saturday, the Gators swept North Carolina 3-0 (30-16, 30-19, 30-26), as sophomore Jane Collymore tallied a career-high 14 kills and added 11 digs in the win. Aury Cruz added 11 kills and Jen Mandes registered 10 digs in the winning effort for the Gators.

Cruz was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was joined on the all-tournament team by Jenkins and Collymore. Also on the all-tournament team were Northwestern's Erika Lange, Iwona Ludzik and Drew Robertson and North Carolina's Aletha Green.

Florida travels to Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday to face South Florida in the Gators' final non-conference match prior to the beginning of the Southeastern Conference portion of the schedule, which begins Friday against Alabama.



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