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Friday October 1, 2004Hampton and Collymore Lead No. 5 VB Over Auburn

Gainesville, FL

Freshman Marci Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) tallied 14 kills without a hitting error and junior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) led all Gators with 16 kills and 11 digs as No. 5 Florida defeated Auburn (30-23, 30-16, 30-26) in the Gators' Southeastern Conference home opener Friday evening in front of a crowd of 2,345 at the Stephen C O'Connell Center.

Florida (11-2 overall, 3-0 SEC) outplayed the Tigers (6-5 overall, 1-2 SEC) in every facet of the match finishing with more kills (52-37), digs (39-27), assists (45-32) and blocks (6-4). The Gators increased their NCAA record conference regular season consecutive match win streak to 133 and 109 overall, while the win was also Florida's 103rd straight SEC home victory.

"I think what is most impressive is that she didn't make a single swinging error in 26 attempts" Florida coach Mary Wise said about Hampton. "We've been preaching the importance of that to our outside hitters all season."

Senior Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) finished one kill short of a season-high with 10 kills, and freshman Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) also turned in a solid performance for the Gators, posting 39 assists and seven digs.

Florida never trailed in the first game before gradually separating from the Tigers in earning a 30-23 win. Collymore paced the Gators with six kills in the game. The Gators jumped out to an 8-3 advantage with Hampton notching three of the points on kills before Auburn closed the gap to 10-7. Florida slowly extended its lead, moving on top 20-14 on a serving error by the Tigers before Auburn closed the gap to four at 24-20. But Florida scored six of the next nine points as Chatman put the game away with a kill.

The Gators again got off to a fast start in the second game as Florida built a 4-0 lead on three errors from the Tigers. Auburn narrowed the score to two at 10-8, but that was the closest the Tigers came in the game. The Gators scored 10 of the next 11 points in taking a decisive 20-9 lead. Collymore picked up three kills in the run, while Hampton added a pair. For the second straight game, Chatman, who had five kills in the game, ended things with a kill to give Florida a 30-16 win.

The third and final game was tighter than the first as the two teams battled back and forth throughout before the Gators used a 4-2 run to close out the match at 30-26. Auburn attained the lead for the first time in the contest at 7-6 and later led at 9-8, 16-15 and as late as 17-16, but with Florida trailing by one, the Gators four straight points to go ahead 20-17 and the Gators never trailed again. Auburn pulled within two at 26-24, but Hampton, McGinnis and Collymore posted kills on three of Florida's final four points. Collymore again paced the Gators with five kills in the game.

Florida continues SEC play with a home match against visiting Alabama Sunday, Oct. 3 with first serve set for 1 p.m. The match will be carried live on radio by WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com in addition to GatorVision Online.

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