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Sunday October 31, 2004Chatman Leads No. 8 VB Past Mississippi State, 3-0

STARKVILLE, Miss.

Senior Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) has 12 kills and nine total blocks, while junior Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) and freshman Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) both finished with double-doubles as No. 8 Florida disposed of Mississippi State for the 26th straight time 3-0 (30-23, 30-13, 30-15) Sunday afternoon at the Newell-Grissom Building.

The win extended Florida's NCAA record streaks to 142 straight regular season conference wins and 118 consecutive conference matches overall. The Gators (20-2 overall, 12-0 SEC) also won their 68th straight SEC match away from home. Florida dominated the Bulldogs (13-13, 4-8) across the board, finishing with more kills (49-27), digs (57-40) and total blocks (16.0-4.0), while also outhitting Mississippi State .362 to -.023. Florida's total of 16.0 blocks represented the most by the Gators in a three-game match all season and four different Florida players recorded at least three blocks during the match.

"Michelle really played hard today and I can't say enough about her," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "We know blocking is one of the more difficult skills to teach and we're really coming along in that department. Having Angie is huge because she's the best blocking setter we've ever had."

Chatman finished just shy of her first double-double of the season, while tying her career high with nine total blocks. Collymore ended the match with 15 kills and 12 digs, while McGinnis chimed in with 34 assists and 10 digs, while also adding seven block assists. Junior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) also finished in double figures with 13 digs.

The Gators jumped out to an early lead and fended off a late Mississippi State rally before securing a 30-23 game one win. Florida raced out to a 6-3 lead after a kill from Chatman. The Bulldogs came back to take the lead at 8-7 before Florida reeled off four straight points to regain the lead at 11-8 after a kill from Collymore. The Gators extended their lead to seven after a 6-1 run gave them a 19-12 advantage. Florida went ahead by eight after a Bulldog attack error at 24-16 before Mississippi State rallied to come within three at 26-23. But the Gators closed out the game with four straight points as block assists from Chatman and freshman Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) sealed the game. Chatman and Collymore both recorded four kills in the game with Chatman adding three total blocks, while Engel paced the Gators with five digs.

Florida had little trouble disposing of the Bulldogs in the second game as the Gators got off to a 13-2 start, fueled by a 7-0 run and a 6-0 run, before winning the game at 30-13. Florida hit .542 in the game, while posting 6.0 total blocks to none for Mississippi State. The early nine-point deficit was the closest the Bulldogs came the rest of the way as the Gators dominated play throughout the game. Chatman led Florida with six kills in the game, while also posting six block assists. Collymore also added five kills for the Gators.

Florida battled back and forth early with the Bulldogs in game three before pulling away and ending the match at 30-15. The Gators built an early 7-4 lead, later extending the advantage to 11-6 after a kill from McGinnis. The Bulldogs fought back, claiming within three at 12-9 before the Gators went on a 4-0 run to move ahead 16-9. Mississippi State climbed back within five at 18-13, but the Gators then scored 12 of the final 14 points, eventually sealing the win on a kill from Collymore, who had six kills in the game to lead Florida. Engel and Collymore each had six digs in the game, while senior Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) and McGinnis both posted four block assists.

Florida returns to action Friday, Nov. 5 when Kentucky travels to Gainesville. The match will mark Florida's first contest at home since beating Arkansas Oct. 17. The matchup, slated for a 7 p.m. start, will be carried live on WRUF-AM 850, www.GatorZone.com and will be featured on GatorVision Online.

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