No. 8 Florida Wins 17th Consecutive Match vs. Florida State


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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Three Florida players registered double-digit kills Monday, led by redshirt freshman Kristy Jaeckel's (Littleton, Colo.) team-high 11 and the No. 8/9 Gators posted their 17th consecutive victory against in-state rival Florida State in a 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 26-24) win in front of a packed house at Tully Gym in Tallahassee.

The Gators (5-0), who are in the midst of a three-match road swing, improve to 31-16 all-time vs. Florida State and 59-2 under head coach Mary Wise vs. in-state opponents. Florida has not dropped a match to an in-state opponent since the 1994 season and is 107-20 all-time vs. teams from the Sunshine State.

Freshman right-side/setter Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) came one dig shy of a triple-double with 10 kills on .316 hitting, a career-high 25 assists and nine digs, while sophomore outside hitter Callie Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) tallied 10 kills and seven digs. Four Gators registered two or more blocks in the match. Freshman outside hitter Colleen Ward (Naperville, Ill.) had one of her finest matches with seven kills on .467 hitting with four digs.

Sophomore right-side/middle blocker Lauren Bledsoe (Long Beach, Calif.) finished with a season-high six kills and two blocks, while junior libero Elyse Cusack (Melrose, Fla.) headed the team's defensive effort with 12 digs.

"We showed a toughness tonight that defined some of our best teams in the past," Wise said. "Florida State is not an easy team to defend against. They are very good at power tipping. It wasn't the cleanest of play by either team tonight, but it's also pre-conference. Elyse Cusack was outstanding tonight. We don't win this one without Elyse."

Florida State opened to a 5-3 advantage to begin the first set, but back-to-back kills by Jaeckel and Murphy knotted the score at 5-all. After another tie at 6-6, Jaeckel served an ace to give the Gators the lead at 7-6. Following six more ties, Jaeckel and junior middle blocker Kristina Johnson (Indianapolis, Ind.) teamed for a powerful block on the outside before Jaeckel registered a kill on the next play to put Florida ahead 14-12 heading into an FSU timeout. The Gators extended their advantage to 19-15 after Rivers registered a put-down and followed with a block solo on the ensuing play that forced FSU coach Chris Poole to burn his final timeout of the set.

Consecutive kills by Murphy and Jaeckel put Florida ahead 22-16, but the Seminoles followed with blocks on two consecutive plays that brought them within three, 22-19, heading into a Gator timeout. Out of the break, a Bowers attack hit the antenna to bring the Noles as close as two, 22-20. That would be as close as FSU would come, as Jaeckel recorded kills on two of the set's final three plays to help the Gators to a 25-22 first-set victory. The Gators hit .265 in the opening set, out-hitting FSU .265-.143.

The Seminoles scored the first two points of the second set before back-to-back Jaeckel kills sparked a 4-0 run that was capped off by a resounding put-down by Bledsoe on the right side. Florida State worked its way back into the set, knotting the score at 6-6. Murphy drilled a kill down the middle on the next play and Johnson and Rivers followed with a block to put the Gators in front 8-6. The Seminoles then used a 2-0 run to tie the score at 8-all, but Florida responded with three consecutive points, highlighted by a Murphy kill on the right side, to go up 11-8.

With the Gators ahead 12-9, FSU scored two consecutive points to cut within one, 12-11, before Rivers recorded a sharp kill on the angle to stop the Seminoles' scoring spree. Trailing 14-12, Florida State used a block by Stephanie Neville and Jordana Price and a kill by Lauren Richardson to knot the set at 14-14. The Noles went in front 16-15, but Florida tied the score on a put-down by Jaeckel off hands. Following three more ties, Bledsoe sent a kill down the middle to put the Gators up 20-19. After two ties, the Seminoles reclaimed the edge at 22-21 on an attack error by Jaeckel. With Florida down 24-22 and facing set point, Johnson registered a kill and FSU's Rachael Morgan followed with an attack error to knot the score at 24-all. Out of a Florida State timeout, a setting error by the Seminoles and a kill by Murphy gave UF a 26-24 win in the second set.

The two teams battled evenly to begin the third set before Ward notched a kill to spark a 2-0 run for the Gators that put them ahead 6-4. The Seminoles rallied to tie the score at 6-all and went in front 7-6 on a put-down by Price. An attack error by Ward and back-to-back FSU blocks gave the Noles a 10-7 advantage and forced Wise to burn a timeout. With Florida trailing by three, 11-7, the Gators went on a 3-0 run to cut within one, 11-10. After the two teams traded points, UF was able to knot the score at 13-all, before back-to-back attack errors by the Noles put the Gators up 15-13. Florida State ran off two consecutive points to tie the score at 15-15, but Florida used a 3-0 run to go up 18-15 heading into a timeout by the Seminoles.

Consecutive attack errors by the Gators brought FSU as close as one, 18-17, before Ward posted a kill on the outside to give Florida a 19-17 advantage. A Rivers put-down on the outside put UF ahead 21-19, but the Noles re-grouped to knot the score at 22-all. A Rivers attack was blocked on the outside on the ensuing play putting FSU in front 23-22 and forcing Wise to use a timeout. With the score knotted at 24-all, Jaeckel drilled a kill down the middle and Ward registered a put-down off the block to give UF the 26-24 victory.

Florida returns to action on Thursday when it faces Colorado in Boulder, Colo. Opening serve is set for 8:30 p.m. EDT and the match will be carried live on Sun Sports and WRUF-AM 850.

A reminder to tune into Gator Hotline with Mary Wise on Tuesday night from 7-8 p.m. (please note the time change) at Beef O'Brady's in Alachua. Fans are invited to come out and ask questions in person or call into the show with their questions for Wise. Tom Collett, the voice of Florida volleyball, hosts the hour-long weekly show.

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Article courtesy of Florida athletics.

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