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Saturday September 11, 2004No. 4 VB Drops First Match of Season At No. 5 Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.

Junior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) picked up her fifth consecutive double-double with a career-high 28 kills and 19 digs, while senior setter Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.) also posted a double-double, but it wasn't enough as No. 4 Florida fell in five games to No. 5 Minnesota (30-22, 28-30, 26-30, 30-18, 17-15) in Florida's final match in the Diet Coke Classic Saturday at the Sports Pavilion before a crowd of 2,443.

The Gators (6-1) came back from a 8-4 deficit to take the lead in game five and fought off two match points, but couldn't register the game-winning point as the Gophers improved to 6-1 on the season.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the play of our team," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "Our team competed so hard and we learned a lot about ourselves in this match. To be a great team on the road, you have to play with maturity and experience and our team wasn't good enough to beat the Gophers tonight."

Collymore's 28 kills were a match high as the next closest player finished with 17, while Moscovic chipped in with 26 assists and 11 digs. Freshman outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) had a career-high 19 digs, while junior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) finished with 18 and sophomore defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) had a career-high 17 digs.

Collymore became the first Gator since Aury Cruz in 2001 to post back-to-back 20+ kill matches after having 24 against Northern Iowa on Friday.

"Everybody in the gym knows Jane's going to get the ball and she was the best offensive player on the floor tonight," Wise said.

The contest marked the second five-game match in the last three days for the Gators and the third straight in which the Gators didn't play a three-game match - the first time since the 1998 season that has occurred. Minnesota also snapped Florida's 34 match regular season winning streak.

In the fifth game, Florida trailed 8-4 before scoring six consecutive points to go ahead 10-8. The two teams traded points until the Gators led 12-10. Minnesota then scored three in a row to take a 13-12 lead. Florida tied the game on a kill by Collymore before the Gophers scored on a kill to go on top 14-13. The Gators again responded as Collymore added another kill to tie the score before Minnesota went on top 15-14 with another kill. Sophomore Stefanie Douglas (Temple, Texas) and senior Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) notched block assists to fight off another match point and tie the game at 15-15. The Gophers then scored the next two to win the match.

The Gators dug themselves a hole early on in the first game as five of Minnesota's first six points came on Gator errors as the Gophers jumped out to a 6-2 lead. Florida battled back, tying the match at 8-8 and later taking an 11-10 lead on an attack error by Minnesota and at 12-11 on a kill by Collymore. But the Gophers responded with three straight points to go on top 14-12 and Florida never led again as Minnesota won the game 30-22. Collymore had five kills and seven digs in the game, while senior Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) added five kills.

Florida again fell behind in the second game, but the Gators rallied from behind in taking control midway through the game before winning 30-28. Florida had 31 digs in the second game led by Engel, who had nine, and Davis, who collected seven. After trailing 4-1, Florida scored tied the match at 6-6, before Minnesota scored the next four points to go on top 10-6. With the Gophers later leading 14-9, Florida tallied nine of the next 10 points in building an 18-15 advantage. Minnesota tied the game at 20-20 before the Gators recorded six of the next eight points to lead 26-22 before eventually sealing the game on a kill by freshman Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.).

The Gators took an early lead in the third game and maintained it for the bulk of the game before winning 30-26. After Florida had led most of the way, Minnesota tied the game at 24-24 before the Gators scored three of the next four points to regain the lead at 27-25. Following a Gopher point, the Florida scored three straight to close the game, the last of which came on block assists from Chatman and Killingsworth. Collymore had seven kills in the game, while Davis added eight digs.

Florida trailed from the beginning stages of game four as the Gophers cruised to an 8-3 lead the Gators never recovered from. Florida got as close as two at 9-7 on a kill by Collymore, but the Gophers then scored six consecutive points to lead by eight before finishing Florida off at 30-18.

Florida returns to action Tuesday, Sept. 14 for a contest against intrastate rival Florida State in Tallahassee. The match will be broadcast live on Sunshine Network and will also be carried live on WRUF-AM 850 as well as www.GatorZone.com First serve is set for 7 p.m.

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