Tuesday September 28, 1999Gator Volleyball Sweeps Florida State
Senior All-America Jenny Manz (Orange Park, Fla./Middleburg) etched her named in the Florida record books again as she recorded her 1,000th career dig as the fourth-ranked Gators swept intrastate rival Florida State 15-5, 15-4 and 15-9 at Tully Gymnasium Tuesday night.
Manz, who coincidentally earned her 1,000th career kill at FSU Nov. 3, 1998, pan caked a dump from FSU setter Jamie Hibbard at 14-8 in the third game to reach the grand mark. The Gators hit .394 in game three to the Seminole's .233. The Seminoles started running a four-point, late rally at 14-5. But, the extra effort gave Manz the opportunity for the dig. The 1998 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year didn't even know about the approaching record and credited her teammates for her success. "I love playing back row," she said. "Especially when I've got great middle blockers. They make it easier to position myself. I give a lot of credit to them."
Florida won its ninth straight match against the Seminoles as 1,723 fans watched. The Gators (11-2, 2-0 SEC) improved to 16-2 against Florida State (5-8, 0-2 ACC) under Coach Mary Wise and 23-16 overall.
"The key was that we got off to leads early (in the games)," Wise said. "It's always hard to play from behind. (But, our winning streak isn't) going to last forever. That's a very talented squad, just young."
Manz's defensive effort tonight did not outshine yet another remarkable offensive performance. She tallied 17 kills on 28 attempts to hit .500. Only one of her three errors was forced.
Florida dominated the first game early, going up 14-3. But, a stubborn Seminole squad held off game point seven times and added two points before one of its own attempts hit the antennae. Manz dominated the game, hitting .733 with 12 kills and only one error on 15 attempts. The team notched 27 kills to hit .460 to FSU's .239 on the game.
Wise admitted the playing style rattled her team. "It was pretty brutal with lots of floor wiping (by FSU). And that's a good game plan, but we needed to play at a faster pace."
In the second frame, Florida thwarted a Seminole Rally. With the Gators leading 6-0, FSU put up four points. But, the Seminoles didn't have an answer for Heather Wright (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville). The junior middle blocker rammed 11 more unstoppable kills as the team combined for a .375 hitting efficiency.
Wright hit .621, nearing her season-high of .629 (vs. Pacific Aug. 28) as she pounded a match-high 19 kills with only one error on 29 attempts. Sophomore Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) registered a match-high nine digs.
On the match, the Seminoles' 10-6 blocking advantage was not enough for the Gator hitters who combined for a .415 hitting efficiency and 66 kills. Florida also out-dug Florida State 37-28. Senior middle blocker Aisha Thornton led the Seminole offense with 13 kills and a .435 hitting efficiency. The team finished with a .220 offensive effort.
The Gators continue SEC action Friday, Oct. 1 at Mississippi State. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live at 8 p.m.