Nov. 6, 2010

Courtesy of Florida Athletics

Five Florida players hit better than .350 and the No. 1 Gators charted 13 total team blocks in a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-13) sweep of border-rival Georgia on Friday in front of a crowd of 1,382 fans at the Ramsey Student Center in Athens, Ga.

The Gators (21-1, 14-0 Southeastern Conference), who extended their winning streak to 16 consecutive matches, posted 13.0 blocks in the match, their most in a three-set match this season. Florida hit a sizzling .418 in the contest, marking its highest hitting efficiency in an SEC match since hitting at a .519 clip against South Carolina on Nov. 27, 2009. The Gators limited the Bulldogs to just a .098 hitting efficiency, which goes down as the third consecutive match that Florida has held an opponent to under a .100 hitting efficiency.

Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) turned in a season-high 14 kills on a .462 hitting efficiency with four digs and four blocks for a match-high 16.5 total team points. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) followed with her ninth consecutive double-double with 11 kills on .474 hitting with 22 assists and six digs for 12.5 total points.

To hit .418 against a really good serving team was very impressive,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. I thought our passing was terrific tonight and, from an offensive standpoint, Callie was just in the zone.”

Junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) charted eight kills on .353 hitting with seven digs and two block solos. Senior middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) totaled seven kills on .545 hitting with three blocks, while junior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.) added five kills on .400 hitting with a match-high five blocks.

Both our middles were really good tonight,” Wise said. We just got better and better as the match went on. We were serving the ball well and they never really were able to get in a rhythm.”

Freshman setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) dished out 20 assists and posted four digs, while sophomore right-side Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) added three kills and four blocks.

Georgia jumped to an early 4-2 advantage to begin the first set before the Gators rallied with a 3-1 run that was capped off by kills from Jaeckel and Bledsoe to knot the score at 5-5. Florida added to the run with a block by Bledsoe and Jaeckel and a kill by Murphy on an overpass on back-to-back plays to give the Gators a 7-5 advantage. Florida kept rolling to a 10-6 advantage capped off by another Bledsoe block. The two teams then traded points before Georgia, trailing 11-7 following a Bledsoe kill, ran off four points in a row to tie the score at 11-all. The Bulldogs Ann Dylla charted a kill on the next play to allow Georgia to reclaim the lead at 12-11, forcing Wise to burn a timeout.

Out of the break, Rivers registered a powerful kill on the outside to spark a 5-0 Florida run that ended with the Gators up 16-12 on an Anderson kill that forced Georgia interim head coach Chad Hanson to use a timeout. The two squads again traded points until Georgia, trailing 18-15, ran off three points in a row to again tie the score - this time at 18-18. Back-to-back resounding kills by Murphy on the right side distanced Florida at 20-18. The Bulldogs managed to knot the score at 21-21. After another tie at 22-all, Rivers charted a kill and Bledsoe served an ace on consecutive plays to bring the Gators to set point at 24-22. A put-down by Wiggs on the right-side gave Florida the 25-22 first-set victory.

Florida raced to a 3-1 lead to open the second set, as that run was capped off by a soft-touch kill from Bledsoe in the middle. The Gators kept rolling to a 5-2 advantage on a Murphy kill before the two teams began trading points. With Florida leading 6-4, the Gators charted three kills, including two from Jaeckel to extend their advantage to five, 9-4. After a Bledsoe kill gave Florida a 10-4 lead, a put-down by Simone May and a Georgia service ace brought the Bulldogs within four, 10-6.

The two squads exchanged points, until five consecutive kills by the Gators gave them a commanding 19-10 advantage. Out of a Georgia timeout, the Bulldogs ran off three points in a row to whittle their deficit down to six, 19-13. With Florida leading 21-13 following a Jaeckel kill, the Bulldogs used another 3-0 run to cut within five, 21-16. The Gators had no trouble closing out the 25-18 second-set win, hitting an electric .517 in the second frame.

Florida stormed out to a 9-2 advantage to commence the third set. The Gators posted three blocks during that span, including a block solo by Murphy to cap the run and force a Georgia timeout. With Florida in front 10-2, the Bulldogs scored two consecutive points, before the squads began trading points. Georgia cut its deficit down to six, 12-6, following a ball-handling error on Brown, but the Bulldogs would get no closer.

Murphy responded with a kill before Bledsoe and Wiggs teamed for a block on the next play, putting Florida ahead 15-7. The Gators kept rolling to a 19-9 advantage on a Rivers kill that forced Georgia to burn its second timeout of the set. Florida then used an impressive service run from junior Cinthya Roberto (Brasilia, Brazil) to widen its edge to 14, 23-9. The Gators easily took the 25-13 third-set victory.

Georgia (11-15, 3-12 SEC) was led by five kills apiece from Valentina Gonzalez and Brittany Northcutt. Setter Kathleen Gates dished out 19 assists.

Florida returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Auburn, Ala., to take on Auburn. Opening serve in the Student Activities Center is slated for 2 p.m. ET and the match will be carried live on CSS with Justin Cazana and Maria Taylor, and on 103.7 FM The Gator with Cory Stephens.