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Friday October 1, 1999Volleyball Sweeps Mississippi State

STARKVILLE, Miss.

The fourth-ranked Florida (12-2, 3-0 SEC) volleyball team has never lost to Southeastern Conference rival Mississippi State (7-6, 0-3) in 19 meetings, and Friday night was no different as the Gators swept the Bulldogs 15-4, 15-7 and 15-7, playing for the first time in the Newell-Grissom Building.

It was Florida's eighth-straight win and fourth consecutive sweep.

Coach Mary Wise credited her team, which was playing in Starkville for the first time since 1996. "I think we got there best shot, and to come away with only seven points as the most they scored in one game says a lot about our team."

Heather Wright (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville) and Jerilyn Hattendorf (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles) topped Florida's .400 offensive performance. Wright pounded 16 kills with only one error on 23 attempts to hit a season-high .652 and also put up five blocks, including two solos. Hattendorf added 11 kills with only one unforced error in 22 attempts and added four blocks.

Wright has now led the Gators in kills in three of their last four matches, and Wise recognized her performance. "She's on a tier right now in terms of her hitting efficiency and her swings."

Florida owned the first game, hitting .345 to the Lady Bulldogs' .050. Hattendorf and Whitehead were the driving forces behind that effort, combining for seven kills with no errors on 11 attempts. The Gators also out-blocked Mississippi State 8-1.

But, the Bulldogs were persistent in the second game. MSU took two, one-point leads and came even on the scoreboard five times. After a 7-7 tie, the Gators put down 11 kills to win the game. State put up its best offensive effort with .178 and got help from five Florida service errors in its early run. Florida, though, had 19 kills and only two errors on 35 attempts to hit .486. Wright led the way with nine kills and Hattendorf added six .

Florida rolled out to a 9-0 lead in the third frame. The Gators had two chances at match point with a cushy 14-2 lead when the Bulldogs caught them out of synch defensivley. Mississippi State tacked on five unanswered points before Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) halted the Bulldogs with one of her six career-high kills. MSU handed Florida the match when an attack error from senior outside hitter Jennifer Shupe went wide. Shupe led the Bulldogs with 12 kills.

The Gators take on Ole Miss Sunday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the match live from the Women's Mult-Sport Complex in Oxford, Miss.

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