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Sunday October 24, 1999Volleyball Dominates Tennessee in 3-0 Victory


The No. 4 Florida volleyball team remains perfect in Southeastern Conference action after a 15-2, 15-4, 15-7 sweep of second-place, Eastern Division foe Tennessee at the Stokely Athletics Center Sunday afternoon.

The Gators (19-2, 10-0 SEC) dominated the Vols (15-9, 6-3 SEC) in every aspect. Florida hit at a .311 clip, marking the second straight match its netted a .300-plus attack. Tennessee hit. 072. The Gators also out-dug and out-blocked the Vols 50-35 and 8-3, respectively.

"We went into this match knowing that this is the best team in the SEC that we'd be facing," Coach Mary Wise said. "This is a very well coached team and one of the best side out teams. With the adjustments they made, we had to consistently side out. The players really responded (to that) today. This is as good of a match as we've played all year."

Seniors Jenny Witehead (Jenison, Mich./Jenison/Michigan State) and Jenny Manz (Orange Park, Fla/Middleburg) led the way offensively. Manz finished with a match-high .481 hitting efficiency and 14 kills while adding three blocks. Whitehead was second overall with 13 kills. She hit .310 with four errors on 29 attempts. Setter Jen Sanchez (San Antonio, Texas/Providence) recorded her seventh double-double on the season with 36 assists and 10 digs. Junior Heather Wright (Martinsville, Ind./Martinsville) notched a match-high six blocks (1 solo, five assists).

It took only 10 minutes for Florida to put away Tennessee in the first frame. The Gators rolled out to a 5-0 lead and then reeled off seven straight points to go up 12-2 with Niki Hartley (San Jose, Calif./St. Francis) serving. The Vols, which hit -.115, only managed two kills and had five errors on 26 attempts. The Gators, meanwhile, hit .429 with 10 kills and only one miscue on 21 attempts. Florida's 16-7 digs advantage held Tennessee to just three side outs.

Though the second-game score didn't show much improvement for Tennessee, the statistics did. Tennessee hit .031 and entered double-digits with 10 digs. Florida hit at a .333 clip and recorded 12 digs. The Vols came out playing more like the second-place SEC East team that entered the match and quickly got a 3-1 jump on Florida. The Gators rallied with five unanswered points to go ahead 6-3. They held off a Tennessee, which put up only eight kills to Florida's 16, but matched UF with two blocks.

A 38-minute rumble in game three ended in Florida's favor, but not without Tennessee's best effort. With Florida leading 11-7, the teams battled through 12 side outs and then eight more after UF scored once. Tennessee hit a match-best .189 with 19 kills, while holding Florida below .300 for the first time with a .250 hitting efficiency. The Gator defense came through to make the difference between two evenly matched offenses. Florida, led by Nicole McCray (Longview, Texas/Pine Tree) with two block solos, out-blocked Tennessee 4-1 and out-dug it 22-18. Kris Bova (Milwaukee, Wis./Divine Savior) led all players with five digs.

Sophomore middle blocker led the Vols with 10 kills and was second with a .316 hitting efficiency. Freshman Kelli Scott recorded a team-high 11 digs.

Florida is now 19-5 all-time since 1984 against the Vols and 15-0 under Coach Mary Wise.

Florida will take its last regular-season SEC road trip to Georgia and South Carolina this weekend. The Gators take on the Bulldogs Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Ramsey center. They play South Carolina Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 p.m. in the Volleyball Competition Facility. Florida swept both teams at home earlier this season. WRUF-AM 850 will broadcast the matches live.

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