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Aury Cruz and the Gators head into Sunday's SEC Tournament title match at 1 p.m.

Saturday November 22, 2003VB Sweeps Tenn., Heads to SEC Tourney Title Match

Columbia, SC

Aury Cruz and the Gators head into Sunday's SEC Tournament title match at 1 p.m.

Behind 14 kills from Jane Collymore and 13 kills and 12 digs from Aury Cruz, the third-ranked Florida volleyball team swept Tennessee 3-0 (30-23, 30-24, 30-23) to move on to Sunday's Southeastern Conference Tournament championship match. The Gators will face the winner of Arkansas-Alabama at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Sherri Williams and Michelle Chatman added nine kills each, followed by Jacque Robinson, who also hit .583 for the match, while Jen Mandes chimed in with 10 digs in the win.

The Gators reached 30 wins for the second straight season and 10th under Head Coach Mary Wise. The Gators also extended their NCAA-record streak of consecutive games won to 88.

Tennessee (21-9) got on the board first to open the match, but the Gators (30-1) answered with two quick points on a kill and a service ace by Aury Cruz. The Lady Vols knotted it at 2-2 on the next play, but Michelle Chatman notched a kill to give Florida a 3-2 lead. Tennessee scored three straight points to go ahead 5-3, but after a Sherri Williams block, the Gators tied it on a Lady Vol error. The two teams traded points until Tennessee moved out to an 11-9 lead. A Jane Collymore kill and a Taylor Williams ace tied it at 11-11, but a service error gave Tennessee the point and the serve. Sherri Williams knotted it with a kill on the next play, but another Gator service error gave the Lady Vols a 13-12 lead. Tennessee returned the favor on the next play, and Lauren Moscovic followed with a kill to give Florida its first lead since early in the game. It was point for point on the next few plays until Tennessee opened a 4-0 run to take a the 18-15 advantage. A Moscovic kill, Tennessee error and a Chatman-Amber McCray block tied the game at 18-18 and forced Tennessee to call a timeout. After the stoppage, the Gators scored three more points to force the Lady Vols to use their final timeout with Florida leading 21-18. Behind kills from Collymore and Cruz, the Gators outscored Tennessee 9-5 to win the opening stanza 30-23.

Game two was as much of a chess match as game one, with both teams battling back and forth to a 9-9 tie. The Gators then went on a 3-0 run on a Tennessee error and two Jacque Robinson kills. Florida worked its way out to a six-point lead at 19-13 and 20-14, the latter on a Cruz kill. The Lady Vols closed to within four points at 21-17 before the Gators brought their lead back out to six points at 23-17. Florida's lead hovered around six points for the remainder of the game, and the Gators won the game 30-24 on a Collymore solo block.

The Lady Vols took a quick 3-0 lead in the third game before Florida could get on the board. A Tennessee attack error and kills by Robinson and Cruz knotted the game at 3-3. After the Lady Vols scored on the next play, a kill by Chatman tied the game, and Robinson gave Florida its first lead of the game at 5-4 with a kill on the next play. The Lady Vols then went on a 4-0 run to take an 8-5 lead before Robinson stopped the run with a kill. Tennessee moved out to an 11-7 lead, but the Gators worked their way back to a 12-12 tie. A kill by Collymore gave Florida back the lead at 13-12 and forced Tennessee to use a timeout. Florida extended its lead to 16-13 on kills from Cruz and Robinson and took a four-point lead at 19-15 on a kill from Sherri Williams. A Cruz-Williams block gave Florida a 22-17 lead, forcing the Lady Vols to use their final timeout. The Gators controlled the momentum for the rest of the match, closing out the match with a 30-23 win in game three.

For Tennessee, Michelle Piantadosi tallied 11 kills, while Cynthia Buggs added a match-high 17 digs in the effort.

Sunday's championship match will air live on SEC-TV and Sunshine Network.

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