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Saturday November 29, 2003VB Outlasts Puerto Rican National Team 3-1

San Juan, PR

Aury Cruz tallied a double-double with 10 kills and 11 digs, and Jane Collymore added 13 kills as the Florida volleyball team defeated the Puerto Rican national team 3-1 (30-19, 32-34, 30-27, 30-15) for the second straight night.

Jen Mandes led the Gators in digs for the second time in as many nights, recording 16 digs, while Sherri Williams added eight kills in the win.

The Gators took an early 2-0 lead in the first game, and after the two teams traded points for a while, Florida took a 7-4 lead one play after a Lauren Moscovic service ace. Amber McCray added a kill for the 8-5 Gator lead. Florida extended its lead to four points at 13-9 and then to five points at 17-12. A Collymore kill made it 20-14, and a few plays later, a kill by Cruz gave the Gators the 21-15 advantage. Ahead 23-17, Florida went on a 3-0 run that featured a McCray kill, a Cruz ace and a McCray-Michelle Chatman block. The Gators closed out the first game 30-19 on another kill by Cruz.

Game two was a battle from the beginning, as the teams traded points to a 4-4 tie. The Gators moved out to a 9-5 lead on a Collymore ace, and took a five-point lead at 11-6 on a Cruz kill. Puerto Rico, though, worked its way back to a tie at 14-14 and took its first lead of the game at 19-18. Each team matched the other point for point, and with Puerto Rico leading 26-24, two consecutive kills from Collymore knotted the game at 26-26. After a Cruz kill a few plays later, the Gators had the first of four game-points but could not fight off Puerto Rico, which won 34-32 to tie the match at one game apiece.

Florida surged out to a 7-2 lead on a Collymore ace in the third game, but once again, Puerto Rico fought back and tied the game at 8-8. The Gators would work their way through the battle, though and slowly began building a lead - two points on a Collymore kill and, later, three points on a Williams kill. With Florida ahead 20-17, the Gators went on a 3-0 run that included kills from Cruz and Collymore and a Chatman-Collymore block to take the 23-17 lead. Puerto Rico closed to within one point late in the game at 28-27, but Florida closed out the game with two Cruz kills to take the 2-1 lead in the match.

The fourth game began with Puerto Rico scoring the first point, but the Gators would take off from there, going on a 6-0 run to take the 6-1 advantage. Again, Puerto Rico would battle back to an 8-8 tie, but with Florida ahead 12-11, the Gators went on a 6-0 run that culminated with a kill by Collymore to take the commanding 18-11 lead. Puerto Rico scored on the next play, but Florida wouldn't let up, scoring nine straight points to seemingly put the match away. The Gators closed out the match with a 30-15 win in game four.

Florida now returns to Gainesville to await the NCAA Tournament selection announcement, which will be broadcast live Sunday night at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.

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