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Friday November 28, 2003VB Defeats Puerto Rican National Team 3-1

San Juan, PR

Aury Cruz scored 22 points including 13 kills and Jen Mandes added a match-high 19 digs as the Florida volleyball team defeated the Puerto Rican National team 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-15) Friday in San Juan.

Cruz added 14 digs, while Sherri Williams tallied 14 kills and Jane Collymore added 10 kills. Collymore and Lauren Moscovic also added 10 digs apiece in the win.

Puerto Rico got on the board first, but a service ace by Cruz two plays later gave Florida its first lead of the game at 2-1. The two teams traded points, and with the game tied 6-6, Williams and Moscovic combined to block Eva Cruz, Aury's sister, to give the Gators the 7-6 advantage. With the game knotted at 10-10, Puerto Rico went on a 3-0 run before a kill by Michelle Chatman stopped the run. Puerto Rico took as much as a seven-point lead in the first game, but the Gators worked their way back to a four-point deficit at 22-18 (Collymore kill), 23-19 (Chatman block) and at the final tally of 25-11.

Game two began much like game one until Florida went on a 4-0 run to take a 10-6 lead. That run included an ace by Cruz and a Collymore-Chatman block. Puerto Rico answered with a 5-0 run to take an 11-10 lead. Collymore stopped that run with a kill, and Williams gave the Gators back the lead at 12-11 with a block. Collymore extended Florida's lead to 13-11 with a kill on the next play. After Puerto Rico closed to within one point at 14-13, the Gators took over and took a four-point lead at 18-14 on a Moscovic kill. With Florida leading 22-17, two consecutive aces by Cruz gave the Gators game point and Florida tied the match at 1-1 on the next play.

Game three began with two straight blocks, one by Williams and the second by Collymore, for a 2-0 Florida lead. The Gators moved out to a 4-1 lead on kills by Williams and Collymore, and two kills by Cruz gave the Gators an 8-4 advantage. Florida slowly extended its lead to six points at 14-8 on a Williams kill, and after Puerto Rico came back to within three at 17-14, the Gators got kills from Cruz and Williams and a block from Chatman to move the lead back out to six at 23-17. Florida closed out the third game 25-18 to take the 201 lead in the match.

The final game began with a kill from Collymore, and another kill from her two plays later gave Florida a 2-1 lead. The teams battled to a 5-5 tied before Florida went on a 5-0 run which included kills from Cruz and Collymore to double Puerto Rico's point total at 10-5. After the national team added a point on the next play, kills from Chatman and Jacque Robinson and another Cruz ace gave the Gators a 13-6 lead. Florida extended that lead to 10 points at 18-8 on a Williams kill, and the Gators held on to win the game 25-15 and the match 3-1.

The Gators will take on the national team again Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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