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Saturday November 19, 2005Collymore Shines As VB Comes From Behind To Beat Arkansas; Gators Advance To SEC Title Match

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.

Senior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) provided 28 kills and 11 digs, while sophomore middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) added a career-best 18 kills as No. 4 Florida came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat fourth-seeded Arkansas (24-30, 30-27, 25-30, 30-24, 15-13) in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament on Saturday at the Coleman Auxiliary Volleyball Extension.

 

The Gators will play in the championship match at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday against Alabama, which defeated No. 25 Tennessee 3-2 Saturday evening.

 

The win for the Gators (27-2) was their 15th straight against Arkansas (20-11) and earned Florida its 15th consecutive appearance in the championship match as UF will be looking for its 12th title in 14 seasons.

 

“You have to give Arkansas credit because they did so many things well,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “I feel very fortunate that we won this match and that we’ll play for the title tomorrow because Arkansas played well enough to win. We had to jump on Jane’s back because we weren’t getting enough kills from different positions and, like an All-American, she responded.”

 

The two teams hit .250 in the match with Florida finishing with more kills (78-75) and digs (66-61) and Arkansas topping the Gators in blocks (17.0-11.0). Florida improved to 41-3 in the SEC Tournament under Wise and 2-1 on the year in five-game matches.

 

The fifth game was a tight affair with Florida the first to reach eight points after a solo block from Killingsworth gave UF an 8-7 advantage. Arkansas tied the game at 8-8 before UF scored two straight on a kill from sophomore outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) and a UA attack error to move on top 10-8. Arkansas tallied the next point before the Gators notched the next three on an Arkansas service error, a Razorback attack error and a service ace that caught the net by freshman defensive specialist Christina Diaz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.).

 

After a kill by Collymore from the left side, the Gators led 14-10, but Arkansas refused to go away, fighting off three straight match points. Sophomore Kari Klinkenborg (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) sealed the contest on the final point by receiving serve and then tallying a kill from the right side.

 

Sophomore setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) finished the match with a career-best 66 assists, while adding nine digs and four blocks, while Klinkenborg ended the match one kill shy of her career high with 12 on .500 hitting and added five blocks.

 

Sophomore opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas) tallied 10 kills on .316 hitting, while senior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) added 18 digs. Engel is now just five digs shy of breaking her own school single season record of 510.

 

Fueled by a 6-0 run midway through the game, Arkansas took control of the opening frame in a 30-24 win. The Lady Razorbacks held an early lead with Florida climbing within a point at 12-11 after Collymore tallied a kill. Arkansas then scored six straight in moving ahead 18-11. Florida countered with six of the next seven points to come within two at 19-17. But Arkansas again responded with four consecutive points to bump its lead back to seven at 23-17. The Gators closed the gap to two at 25-23 following a Hampton kill. Arkansas then scored five of six points to close out the game. Collymore and Killingsworth led UF with five kills apiece, while Engel added six digs.

 

The Gators raced out to an early advantage in the second game before fending off a late Arkansas rally in a 30-27 win. After hitting just .071 in the opening frame, Florida finished at a .386 clip in the second game. Behind the serving of Diaz the Gators opened the game with a 4-0 lead and later extended their advantage to six at 10-4. Arkansas battled back with five consecutive points to narrow the gap to one at 10-9 before the Gators went up 13-10. Florida slowly pulled away and led by six at 21-15 after Killingsworth slammed home a kill. But the Lady Razorbacks didn’t back down and came within two at 27-25 before the Gators eventually sealed the game on a McGinnis kill. Florida tallied 25 kills in the game with Collymore finishing with seven, Killingsworth six and Klinkenborg five.

 

The third game was a close affair until the Lady Razorbacks gradually pulled away with several short spurts before winning the game 30-25.  The teams sided out often in the beginning stages with Arkansas eventually pulling ahead 10-9. Florida answered with three straight points on a kill from McGinnis, a solo block from Collymore and a kill from Klinkenborg. Arkansas came back with five of six points to take the lead at 15-13. Florida tied things at 15-15 after a UA service error and a Killingsworth kill. The Lady Razorbacks then tallied the next two points and held the advantage the rest of the game. Florida was within one at 18-17, but Arkansas notched three straight points and UF never came closer than four the rest of the way. Collymore tallied six kills for Florida in the game with Killingsworth adding five.

 

Florida came out charged up for the fourth game and held a sizable lead for a majority of the frame before finishing off Arkansas 30-24. The Gators never trailed and took control after the Lady Razorbacks had narrowed the gap to two at 7-5. UF notched four consecutive points in forging ahead 11-5. Arkansas came within three on six occasions before the Gators tallied six of seven points to take a commanding 22-14 lead before McCray closed out the game on a kill from the right side. Collymore paced UF with six kills in the game.

 

Florida will play in the SEC Tournament Championship match at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday. The contest will be carried live on Sun Sports as well as WRUF-AM 850 and www.GatorZone.com.

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