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Sunday November 20, 2005VB Claims 12th SEC Tournament Title; Collymore Named MVP

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.

Sophomore middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.) finished with a match-high 16 kills on .591 hitting, while senior outside hitter Jane Collymore (Englewood, Colo.) earned tournament MVP honors as No. 4 Florida captured its 12th Southeastern Conference Tournament title in the last 14 seasons by beating sixth-seeded Alabama 3-0 (30-25, 30-25, 30-17) Sunday afternoon at the Coleman Auxiliary Volleyball Extension.

 

Florida (28-2) improved to 42-3 under coach Mary Wise in the SEC Tournament as UF swept the SEC regular season and tournament titles for the 12th time in her 15 seasons as coach. The opening two games were relatively tight before Florida came out after the break and easily handled Alabama (23-9) in only its third loss at home in 2005.

 

“We’ve been fortunate over the years to play in this match a number of times and this tournament was different than any other in that teams one through eight were strong,” Wise said. “Every title is special, but to beat the three teams we beat in consecutive days, including the hot team Alabama on their home court – this is the most competitive tournament this league has had since I arrived in 1986.”

 

Collymore ended the contest with 13 kills and five digs in picking up the 11th SEC Tournament MVP award in Florida history. Killingsworth and sophomore Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) were both named to the All-Tournament team as well.

 

Collymore joined Aury Cruz (2000-03) and Missy Aggertt (1993-95) as the only players in school history to be named to the SEC All-Tournament Team at least three times.

 

“Jane has the ability to get kills against even three blockers, which she did today,” Wise said. “She brings so much to the table. She’s able to beat you from both the front row and the back row.”

 

Florida finished with more kills (48-40), aces (6-3), digs (42-37) and blocks (11.0-5.0), while out-hitting Alabama .311-.108. The Gators improved to 24-0 all-time vs. the Crimson Tide.

 

Senior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) tallied 14 digs in the contest to break her own school record for digs in a season as she now has 519 compared to her previous mark of 510. McGinnis added 38 assists, four kills on .571 hitting, eight digs and four blocks.

 

After the Crimson Tide began the first game by scoring the opening four points, the Gators used a 9-1 run to regain control before claiming a 30-25 win. Alabama put the first four points on the scoreboard before the Gators rallied with nine of the next 10 as the serving of junior defensive specialist Rhian Davis (Austin, Texas) and sophomore outside hitter Marcie Hampton (Gainesville, Fla.) combined with four kills by Collymore and three from Killingsworth gave Florida a 9-5 lead. Alabama didn’t go away as the Crimson Tide came back to retake the lead at 12-11. The Gators responded with three of the next four points in moving ahead 14-13. Alabama tied the game at 14-14 and 18-18, but Florida tallied three consecutive points to take the lead for good at 21-18 and UA never came closer. Sophomore middle blocker Kari Klinkenborg (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) eventually put the game away with a kill on a slide play. Killingsworth paced all players with seven kills on .455 hitting, while Engel had a game-high six digs.

 

The second game was a tight affair until a 7-1 run from the Gators at the midway point gave UF enough of a cushion in a 30-25 win. Things stayed close in the opening stages with neither team leading by more than three points. The game was tied as late as 12-12, but Florida tallied a pair of points on kills from McGinnis and Collymore to move on top for good at 14-12. The Crimson Tide again came within a pair at 16-14, but the Gators came back with a 7-1 run to boost their lead to seven at 22-15. Alabama did close the gap to three at 28-25, but Florida ended the game with two points on Crimson Tide attack errors. UF hit .306 in the game to just .075 for Alabama, while McCray and Killingsworth tied for the game high with four kills each. Florida also out-blocked UA 5.0-0.0 with McGinnis finishing with three to lead all players.

 

Florida came out strong from the outset in the final game and put away Alabama in the early stages before wrapping up the match in a 30-17 win. The Gators scored the first three points before the Crimson Tide eventually came back to tie the game at 4-4. But Florida then notched seven of the next eight points as the Gator lead swelled to 11-5. Behind three straight kills from Killingsworth, the Gators eventually built a 16-7 advantage and later led by 13 points at 22-9 before Collymore closed out the match with a kill. Collymore and Killingsworth again led all players with five kills in the game, while UF out-hit Alabama .393-.094 with Killingsworth going a perfect 5-for-5 with five kills on as many attempts.

 

Florida returns to action for the Wells Fargo Thanksgiving Tournament, which will be held on the campus of Denver University. The Gators will play No. 24 Colorado at 7 p.m. (ET) on Friday, Nov. 25 and will face Denver at 9:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Nov. 26. Neither match will be broadcast, but live statistics will be available via www.denverpioneers.com.

 

SEC Tournament MVP

Jane Collymore, Florida

 

SEC All-Tournament Team

Jane Collymore, Florida

Kisya Killingsworth, Florida

Angie McGinnis, Florida

Bridget Fuentez, Alabama

Jessica Yearout, Alabama

Amy Allison, Arkansas

Julie Knytych, Tennessee

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