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Sherri Williams tallied 15 kills in helping the Gators sweep Kentucky

Sunday November 16, 2003No. 3 VB Sweeps Kentucky, Wins SEC Title Outright

Lexington, KY

Sherri Williams tallied 15 kills in helping the Gators sweep Kentucky

Sherri Williams totaled 17.5 points on 15 kills and five block assists, and Michelle Chatman hit a perfect 1.000 with eight kills as the Gators swept Kentucky 3-0 (30-23, 30-14, 30-23) to close out the regular season undefeated in the Southeastern Conference for the ninth straight season.

The Gators clinched at least a share of the SEC title with Friday's win over South Carolina but are now outright league champions. Florida ends the regular season still holding the active streak for consecutive regular season conference matches won at 130. The Gators also still hold the NCAA-record streak of consecutive games won at 82. This is also the first time that a Florida volleyball team has finished its SEC slate without losing a game.

Aury Cruz added 13 kills and seven digs, while Jane Collymore and Rachel Engel tallied double digits in digs with 14 and 10, respectively.

Kentucky went on a 5-0 run to begin the match before a long Wildcat attack gave Florida its first point of the game. After the Wildcats pulled out to a 9-4 lead, the Gators went on a 4-0 run which included a kill from Lauren Moscovic, an Aury Cruz block and a Cruz kill to pull to within one at 9-8. Kentucky moved back out to a 13-10 lead before Florida answered with three straight points to knot the game at 13-13. A back-row block against the Wildcats on the next play gave the Gators' their first lead of the match at 14-13. A kill by Jane Collymore added to Florida's lead, but Kentucky answered on the next play to close to within one at 15-14. Collymore responded with another kill, and an overpass by Jen Mandes got by the Wildcats to give Florida the 17-14 lead. A Gator service error gave Kentucky a point and the serve, but the Wildcats returned the favor on the next serve. The teams traded points until kills by Sherri Williams and Collymore and a Wildcat attack error gave Florida a five-point lead at 24-19. The Gators extended that lead to 26-19 after a Williams-Moscovic block, and Florida went on to win game one 30-23 on two straight Cruz kills.

Game two began with the teams trading points, with a kill each from Cruz and Chatman and three kills from Jacque Robinson gave Florida a 6-4 lead. The Gators added to that lead with a Williams-Moscovic block, followed by a Williams-Collymore block. After a Wildcat error, Williams and Moscovic combined again for a block to give the Gators the 10-4 advantage. Williams added a kill on the next play, and Rachel Engel followed with a service ace, forcing the Wildcats to call a timeout with Florida leading 12-4. After the stoppage, Collymore tallied a solo block and a Kentucky attack error extended the Gator lead to 14-4. Williams continued her hot afternoon, tallying two more kills to give the Gators the 17-6 lead. Florida worked its way out to a 25-12 advantage before Kentucky called its final timeout of the game. The Gators took a 2-0 lead in the match with a 30-14 win in game two.

Both teams traded points again to begin game three, with Florida holding a 7-4 lead and the Wildcats working their way back to a 7-7 tie. Kentucky took the 8-7 lead on the next play, but Williams hammered a kill to knot the game at 8-8. After trailing the Wildcats 10-9, a Cruz kill tied it at 10-10, and the Gators regained the lead on the next play on a Kentucky net violation. Florida took a 13-11 lead on another Cruz kill followed by a Chatman-Collymore block and extended that lead to 14-11 on a Wildcat attack error. Cruz added a service ace to give the Gators the 15-11 lead before Kentucky called a timeout. The Gators held Kentucky off, allowing the Wildcats to get no closer than four points for the remainder of the game. Florida closed out the match with a 30-23 win in game three.

For Kentucky, Sarah Spinner tallied a team-high 11 kills, while Liz McCaslin added 14 digs in the effort.

The Gators will travel to Columbia, S.C. next weekend for the SEC Tournament. As the top seed in the tournament, Florida faces the No. 8 seed, which will be determined at the completion of Sunday's action.

 

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