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Friday September 24, 1999Volleyball Beats No. 21 Arkansas in SEC Opener

Gainesville, FL

No. 6 Florida opened Southeastern Conference play with a three-game sweep of No. 21 Arkansas by scores of 15-12, 15-11 and 15-6 Friday night at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in front of a home crowd of 1,878 fans. The match improved the Gators to 4-2 against Top 25 opponents.

Junior middle blocker Heather Wright (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville) led all hitters in the match with 19 kills for a .533 hitting percentage and added four block assists.

Head Coach Mary Wise was impressed with the way her squad handled Arkansas' All-SEC player Yarleen Santiago and the play of Wright. "For us to be successful, we had to keep Santiago under a .300 hitting percentage," Wise said. "It didn't look like Arkansas had an answer for Heather Wright."

Florida (9-2, 1-0 Southeaster Conference) now leads the all-time series against Arkansas (10-3, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) nine games to one. Florida hit .272 to Arkansas' .179 and posted 68 kills to the Lady Razorbacks' 48.

Florida struggled with the block in game one as Arkansas, boasting the tallest team in school history, managed to stall the Gators' offense. Florida stayed in the game thanks to Wright, who's eight kills and late-game, tie-breaking block sparked the game-winning three-point scoring run. Wright was an errorless eight for 13 with a .615 hitting percentage.

Florida jumped out to an early 8-4 lead in the second game fueled again by Wright and junior outside hitter Jerilyn Hattendorf (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) as both posted seven kills for the game. The Lady Razorbacks cut the lead to within two at one point and held Florida at game point twice before the Gators put them away.

The Gators scored seven unanswered points aided by the play of Jenny Whitehead's (Jenison, Mich./Jenison) 11 kills to take the win in the third game.

Whitehead had 16 kills for the match for a .278 hitting percentage. Jenny Manz (Orange Park, Fla./Middleburg) added 10 kills, and Hattendorf had a double-double with a career-high 13 kills and 10 digs.

Florida continues SEC action Sunday, Sept. 26 as it faces Louisiana State (7-6, 0-0 SEC) at 2 p.m. in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. WRUF-AM 850 and the Sunshine Network will broadcast the match live.

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