Senior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.)
finished with a career-high 30 kills in leading No. 6 Florida to a
come-from-behind win in game five against No. 8 Southern California 3-2 (23-30,
30-19, 30-27, 21-30, 15-12) on the second day of competition at the UTSA Dome
Rally Saturday evening at the Alamodome.
The win for Florida (7-0) was the
first against USC (2-4) since 1998 and marked the first time the Gators had
beaten top-25 teams on back-to-back days since the 2003 NCAA Championship. The
win wasn’t easy as the Gators fell behind 4-1 in the opening stages of the
fifth game before clawing their way back. Florida trailed as late as 9-8 before
scoring two straight points to take the lead for good at 10-9. USC came back
within one at 13-12, but the Gators closed out the match on a pair of kills
from Collymore – who at one point had 15 of Florida’s first 30 kills.
“Today’s win was due in
large part to the play of our seniors – Jane Collymore and Rachel Engel,” Florida coach Mary Wise
said. “Jane raised the RPMs tonight. From her serving to her blocking to her
digging to setting a career high in kills – she was at a different level. There
was a lot of high level volleyball being played, especially considering the
time of the season.”
Collymore tallied her 30
kills on .286 hitting and added a career-best 36.0 points, while senior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.)
finished just two digs shy of her best and three shy of the school record with
31. Sophomore middle blocker Kisya
Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) also finished with a career-best
Sophomore outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.)
finished with a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs. Sophomore Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.)
also added a double-double with 61 assists and 14 digs, while also adding four
kills. Her assist total was one shy of her career best.
The Gators improved to
77-39 all-time against ranked teams under Wise, while the victory was the first
for the Gators against a top-10 team in five games since 2002 when the Gators
beat Penn State.
The Gators spotted USC as
much as an eight-point lead in the opening game before mounting a failed
comeback that resulted in a 30-23 Trojan win. After a kill from sophomore
opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview,
Texas) made it 9-6 in favor of USC, the Trojans gradually pulled away,
building a 19-11 advantage. But the Gators came back behind the serve of junior
defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas).
scored five straight points and eight of nine with Killingsworth and Hampton
each posting a pair of kills in the stretch. But after the Gators came within
one at 20-19, USC closed out the game by scoring 10 of the next 14 points. Collymore
led the Gators with five kills in the game, while Engel had seven digs.
The Gators suffered
through no early slumps in the second game as Florida scored nine of the first 11 points
en route to a 30-19 win. Behind strong serving from Hampton and freshman Christina Diaz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
and four kills from Collymore, the Gators raced out to a 9-2 advantage. The
Women of Troy battled back, pulling the game within four points three times,
the last coming at 18-14. But the game was Florida’s to be won as Collymore almost
single-handedly ignited a 4-0 run with two service aces and a kill to bump the
Gator lead to 22-14. The Trojans never got closer before Collymore and
sophomore middle blocker Kari Klinkenborg
(Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
ended the game with block assists on the left side. Collymore had 11 of the
team’s 15 kills in the game and she did so in just 15 swings (.733 efficiency).
Engel led UF with seven digs in the game.
The third game was close
for the duration with a late Gator run leading to a 30-27 UF win. The teams
traded points back and forth with neither squad ever building a lead more than
five. After USC had fought back to tie the game at 16-16, the Gators scored
four straight points to move ahead 20-16. Following a Trojan timeout, USC
tallied five consecutive points to move ahead 21-20. Florida responded with three points, one
coming on a kill from Collymore, which she followed with a solo block to give
UF a 23-21 advantage. The Trojans again tied things at 23-23 before Florida went on top
25-23 on kills from Killingsworth and Collymore. The teams traded points until
the Gators scored two straight to give them a 29-26 lead. After a service
closed out the game with a kill on the left-side. Collymore again led the
Gators with eight kills, while Engel added five digs.
In game four, the teams
remained close until a 7-0 USC run propelled the Women of Troy to a 30-21 win.
The squads traded points as a Klinkenborg kill made it 11-10 USC. But the
Trojans then tallied the next seven points in building an 18-11 advantage that Florida never overcame.
The Gators got as close as four at 20-16 after a Killingsworth kill, but USC
then put four straight points on the scoreboard to effectively seal the game. Hampton had five kills,
while Engel had seven digs to lead the Gators.
Florida returns to action for the final day of the Dome
Rally when the Gators take on their third ranked opponent in three days as UF
will face No. 19 Notre Dame at Noon (ET). The match will be carried live on
WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.