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Saturday December 4, 2004No. 13 VB Season Ends With 3-2 Loss To No. 6 Stanford

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.

Senior Sherri Williams (Orlando, Fla.) finished with 16 kills, while No. 13 Florida held a 2-1 advantage, but couldn't hold as No. 6 Stanford came back to defeat the Gators 3-2 (30-25, 15-30, 30-21, 27-30, 9-15) in the NCAA Championships Second Round Saturday evening at the Gaither Athletic Center.

Florida (28-5), which ended its season with at least 25 wins for the 14th consecutive season, built a 2-1 lead before the Cardinal (26-6) came back to take the final two games. The fifth game was close until Stanford used a 6-1 run to turn a one-point deficit into a 10-6 lead that the Gators couldn't overcome.

Florida was outhit by Stanford .223-.189 and finished with one few dig (80-79), while the Cardinal outblocked the Gators 12.0-10.0 as Florida fell to 40-15 all-tome in NCAA play.

"This was a great volleyball match between two teams duking it out," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "I'm extremely proud of this team and how hard they worked this season. I don't think we left anything out there tonight."

Williams also added a pair of blocks to her 16 kills, while junior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) added her 21st double-double of the season with 15 kills and 14 digs. She moved into ninth place in school history for career kills with 1,094. Senior middle blocker Michelle Chatman (Woodridge, Ill.) added 14 kills on .360 hitting, while junior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) broke the school record for digs in a season as she posted 19 to give her 510.

Florida used an early 5-0 run to compile a lead which the Cardinal never overcame as the Gators took the first game 30-25. With the game tied 3-3, Florida scored five straight points with senior Lauren Moscovic (Stockton, Calif.) serving during four of those points. Stanford battled back within two at 8-6 and the teams traded points back and forth until Florida scored five of six points in taking a 24-17 lead. The Gators led 29-21 after block assists from Chatman and sophomore Stefanie Douglas (Temple, Texas) before the Cardinal rallied within four at 29-25. But the Gators closed out the match on a kill from Douglas. Chatman paced the Gators with five kills.

Stanford took control in the opening stages of the second game before pulling away for a 30-15 win. The Cardinal raced out to a 10-4 lead and that was the closest the Gators got the rest of the way. Williams and Douglas led the Gators with three kills in the game.

The third game was close until the Gators used a 6-0 run late in the game before going on to a 30-21 win. After Stanford again took an early advantage at 6-2, Florida scored five straight points behind the serve of Moscovic to take a 7-6 lead. The teams battled back and forth until the Gators scored the first of their six straight points on a kill from Williams to tie the game at 19-19. With senior Taylor Williams (Gainesville, Fla.) holding serve, Florida scored five more points in taking a 24-19 lead before eventually claiming the game at 30-21. Collymore had six kills in the game, while freshman Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) had nine digs in the game.

Game four was a battle between the two squads with Stanford four of the final five points to take a close 30-27 win and extend the match to five games. The game was close for the duration as neither team led by more than four points throughout. The Gators appeared to be in good shape after a 5-1 run gave them a 22-18 lead after a Stanford ball handling error. But the Cardinal came back with a 5-1 run of their own to tie things at 23-23. The teams exchanged points with the Gators tying the match at 27-27 on a Cardinal attack error. But Stanford closed out the game with the final three points. Sherri Williams posted five kills in the game, while Engel had seven digs.

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