Sunday November 9, 2003Duo Leads No. 3 Volleyball Over LSU
Senior Aury Cruz and junior Sherri Williams each tallied 13 kills as the No. 3 Florida volleyball team celebrated its Senior Day with a 3-0 win (30-16, 30-18, 30-21) against Louisiana State on Sunday at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
Williams led the Gators (26-1, 14-0 SEC) with a season-high .867 hitting percentage to go along with her match-high 19 points. Sophomore Jane Collymore turned in a strong match with nine kills, while freshman Amber McCray continued her development as she registered five kills and three block assists.
Florida was just as impressive defensively as it held LSU (11-6, 6-8 SEC) to a .029 hitting percentage. Senior Jen Mandes led the Gators' defensive efforts with a match-high 13 digs.
"There are a lot of teams that on Senior Night know for a fact that they are playing their last home match," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "Because of how talented these seniors are, if the NCAA Tournament was held today, we'd be playing at home."
With the win against LSU (11-6, 6-8 SEC), the Gators extend their sweep streak to 25 matches, which includes 76 consecutive shutout games. Florida's NCAA-record conference winning streak now stands at 128 matches.
LSU stayed close to the Gators in the early stages of the first game before junior Michelle Chatman, who finished the match with seven kills, scored on back-to-back kills as part of a 3-0 run that put Florida up 11-7. Williams and Collymore were responsible for two scores each during a 5-0 run that extended the Gators' lead to 21-12. Florida used a 5-0 run, powered by a Cruz kill and block, to take a 28-14 advantage before securing the match four scores later.
Cruz, who had five kills in the second game, had two kills and an ace during a 10-1 Florida run that put it in position, 19-9, to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Gators took a 24-13 advantage off a 4-1 run, with Williams recording a kill and block during that stretch.
A Williams kill in the third game gave the Gators a comfortable 12-6 lead. Florida extended its lead to 21-14 after a 4-1 run. Consecutive blocks by Williams put Florida up 26-18.
Before the match, Florida seniors Cruz, Mandes, Benavia Jenkins and Jacque Robinson were honored for their achievements and contributions to the Gators' volleyball program. Jenkins kicked off the presentation, as she has for her entire career, by singing the national anthem.
Florida returns to action Friday when it travels to Columbia, S.C., to take on South Carolina at 7 p.m.