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Wednesday November 10, 2004Hampton Leads No. 7 VB Over Georgia

Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) recorded 16 kills and proved clutch down the stretch with three big serves late in the third game as No. 7 Florida defeated Georgia (30-21, 30-24, 31-29) on Wednesday evening in front of a crowd of 1,732 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.

Florida (22-2 overall, 14-0 SEC) defeated the Bulldogs (16-8, 8-6) with a solid home performance, finishing with more kills (55-51), digs (53-41) and blocks (8.0-5.0). The Gators have now won an NCAA record 144 consecutive regular season SEC matches, an NCAA record 120 conference matches overall and were victorious against an SEC opponent at home for the 108th straight time. With one win in Florida's final two conference matches, the Gators will clinch at least a tie for their 14th consecutive SEC title. The Gators also improved their record against Georgia to 35-0 under head coach Mary Wise.

"It was another good night for Marcie," Florida coach Wise said. "Marcie is mature beyond her age and that came through tonight. She’s a gamer and my hat is off to her for her performance tonight."

Junior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) also performed strong for the Gators as she posted her 23rd double-double on the season with a match-high 18 kills, 10 digs and 5.0 total blocks. Senior middle blocker Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) added eight kills for the Gators, including five in the first game. Junior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) ended the contest with a match-high 17 digs, while senior Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.) also entered double-figures with 12 digs.

Florida dominated early in the first game before cruising to an easy 30-21 win. The Gators hit .500 in the game with just three attack errors on 32 swings. Florida started strong as the Gators scored eight of the first nine points with Collymore accounting for three kills. The Gators gradually extended their lead, pushing it to 11 at 21-10 after a Georgia attack error. Florida appeared to have the game in hand after a kill from Williams made it 27-14 Gators, but the Bulldogs scored seven of the next nine points to close the gap to 29-21. But Florida iced the game on a kill from Collymore at 30-21. Collymore led the Gators with six kills, while Williams had five. Hampton and Engel each collected five digs.

The Gators and Bulldogs battled back and forth throughout game two before the Gators eventually wore down Georgia in a 30-24 win. Florida again hit well as the Gators posted a .368 hitting efficiency with Hampton playing a critical role as she posted eight kills in the game on just 12 attacks with no errors (.667). Collymore also added five kills, while she and Engel both had five digs. The score was tied 15 times in the game with the game looking to go in favor of the Bulldogs after a 4-0 run gave them a 19-16 lead. The Gators scratched back to tie the game at 20-20 on a Hampton kill and later took the lead on a Georgia attack error at 22-21. After the Bulldogs tied the game at 22-22, Florida scored three straight points and eight of the next 10, eventually sealing the game on a Georgia service error.

The third game was an example of momentum swings as each squad came back from sizable deficits. Georgia raced out to an early 6-1 lead before the Gators scored eight consecutive points on the serve of Hampton to move ahead 9-6. Florida maintained its lead until Georgia went on top 16-15. The two teams traded points until Florida scored three out of three of four to move ahead 21-18 on a kill from Collymore. Florida again led by three at 23-20 and 24-21 before Georgia came back to take the lead at 27-26. The Bulldogs had a pair of game point opportunities after building a 29-27 lead, but kills from Hampton and Collymore tied the game before Hampton put away a ball to make the score 30-29. Collymore then ended the match with a kill at 31-29. Collymore had seven kills in the game with Hampton adding six and Engel chipping in with seven digs. Moscovic added six of her 12 digs in the game.

Florida returns to action on Friday, Nov. 12 against South Carolina in a home matchup scheduled to appear on GatorVision Online. The match will also be carried live on www.GatorZone.com with first serve set for 5 p.m. Fans will be treated to Gator Grub III where the first 1,000 Gator enthusiasts will receive a free BBQ dinner. Fans can also get in FREE with their Gator Growl ticket or with a coupon from www.GatorZone.com

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