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    Sunday SEC Volleyball Scoreboard

    Florida 3, Kentucky 0
    Missouri 3, Ole Miss 0
    Texas A&M 3, Auburn 1
    Georgia 3, Mississippi State 1
    South Carolina 3, LSU 2
    Tennessee 3, Alabama 1

    No. 13 Florida Volleyball Sweeps No. 24 Kentucky on the Road, 3-0

    LEXINGTON, Ky. - The No. 13 University of Florida volleyball team (8-2, 2-0 SEC) looked like a team on a mission Sunday, as the Gators swept the No. 24 Kentucky Wildcats (6-5, 0-1 SEC), 3-0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-18), in front of a crowd of 1,898 at Memorial Coliseum.

    Florida's veteran hitters led the way offensively on Sunday, as seniors Betsy Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) and Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) each notched 10 kills on the afternoon, hitting .444 and .556, respectively. Junior middle blocker Chloe Mann (Gainesville, Fla.) led all players with a match-high 12 kills against the 'Cats, hitting a match-high .579 to go along with three blocks.

    Florida's freshman hitting duo of Gabby Mallette (Orange Park, Fla.) and Živa Recek (Kočevje, Slovenia) combined for 10 kills and four blocks against Kentucky, while junior setter Taylor Brauneis (Crystal Lake, Ill.) dished out 36 assists on Sunday. Brauneis directed the Gators to a .376 hitting percentage, marking the eighth match of 2012 where the Gators hit above .300.

    Defense was a major theme for Sunday's match, as sophomore libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) had one of the best matches of her career, tallying 17 digs (5.67/set) and registering a perfect serve receive percentage for the ninth match this season.

    The match marks the 1,000th match played in Florida volleyball history and the Gators hold an 823-177 record all-time since the reinstatement of the program in 1984. Sunday's sweep is the first 3-0 victory on the road over the Wildcats since November 11, 2007.

    The Gators held the Wildcats to a .150 hitting clip, their lowest hitting percentage against Florida since Sep. 17, 2010. UK, leading the SEC in blocks prior to Sunday's match (2.89/set), tallied just 2.0 blocks on the afternoon while UF stuffed 8.0 blocks.

    Florida jumped out to a 6-1 lead, using scrappy defense and great serve receive to score points in transition. Kentucky called timeout after Recek slammed one through the seam of the Wildcat block with Florida ahead, 9-3. The Wildcats jumped out to a 4-0 run after the timeout to pull within two, 10-8. A Recek-Smith stuff block and a smartly-placed tip by Recek put Florida up, 16-12.

    A Mallette kill off the block widened the gap to put the Gators ahead, 19-15, forcing a Wildcat timeout. A solo stuff for Mallette continued the Florida momentum as the Orange and Blue pulled away, 21-16. A Recek slam down the line set up set point at 24-21 and Smith re-directed an errant free ball for a kill to take the set, 25-20.

    The teams traded points to open the second stanza, with an Unroe ace putting Florida ahead, 4-2. A tip behind the block by Smith forced a Wildcat timeout with the Gators ahead, 10-5. The Orange and Blue kept the five-point advantage throughout the middle of the set, with a kill by Wiggs in transition forcing a Kentucky timeout at 16-10.

    A Wiggs kill off the X play furthered the Florida lead, 17-12, and two solo blocks by Recek put Florida within three points of the set at 22-12. A Kentucky hitting error set up set point at 24-13 and a Smith kill off the slide gave the Gators the two-set lead, 25-14.

    The third stanza was tight from the outset, but smart setting choices by Brauneis split the Kentucky block early in the third, as Florida began to pull ahead at 9-7. The Wildcats were ready to roll over just yet, and a 3-0 run by UK, including back-to-back blocks, knotted the set at 10-10 and forced a Florida timeout. The sides continued to battle and back-to-back defensive displays by Unroe kept the momentum on the Gators' side, as Kentucky called timeout, UK down 17-15.

    Mallette cut inside the Wildcat block to get the Gators to the double-decade mark at 20-18. Mann killed the overpass to spark a Florida run and force Kentucky to burn its final timeout, with the Gators leading, 21-18. Another Mann overpass slam continued the Gator momentum and the Gainesville native put down a solo stuff to put Brauneis on the service line at 23-18. The junior setter aced the 'Cats and Mann slammed one home to put away the set and the match, 25-18.

    This is the Gators' first win over a ranked opponent this season and Florida is 106-82 all-time against ranked opponents.

    The Gators return to the friendly confines of the Stephen C. O'Connell Center as the Orange and Blue host the Missouri Tigers in their first Southeastern Conference meeting. The Gators and the Tigers met in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season at Northern Iowa, with Florida taking a 3-1 victory en route to their first Elite Eight appearance since 2005.


    Tiger Volleyball Blanks Ole Miss
    COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou volleyball program continued its hot start in SEC play by sweeping Ole Miss, 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-18), on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 16) at the Hearnes Center. The win improves the Tigers to 10-2 on the season and 2-0 in SEC play, marking the first time since 2005 that the Tigers have opened conference play 2-0. The Tigers hit .347 with 47 kills over the three sets on Sunday while limiting Ole Miss to just .179 hitting. The Tigers have now held their opponents to under .200 hitting in nine of 12 matches this season, winning eight of those.
    “I am very happy with our performance this week,” head coach Wayne Kreklow said. “To rally and beat Tennessee the way we did Wednesday and come back and play a good Ole Miss team today, we needed to be ready to play and I thought we were. I thought we played a pretty complete match and I think it showed with the type of numbers that we put up offensively. All in all, you couldn’t ask for a better opening week in the SEC. Now we need to shift our attention to Florida.”
    The Tigers dominated play at the net on Sunday, hitting .347 with 47 kills, just one off of their three-set best this season. Aside from the efficiency that the Tigers showed, they also showed a balanced offense as three attackers finished with at least nine kills and all three hit better than .300. Sophomore middle Whitney Little (Keller, Texas) was the highlight of the match as she posted 13 kills, one off of her career-high, on .722 hitting as she did not commit an error on 18 attacks.
    After posting 26 kills on .292 hitting against Tennessee Wednesday, junior All-American Lisa Henning (Blue Springs, Mo.) posted 13 kills on .312 hitting on Sunday while corralling nine digs, just missing her third double-double of the season. For the week, Henning averaged 4.88 kills per set on .299 hitting with 20 digs over the two matches, making her an SEC Player of the Week candidate. Sophomore Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was also very good, posting nine kills on .500 hitting with four blocks (two solo, two assists).
    Junior setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) may have played one of her best matches of the season statistically as well, spreading 40 assists over the three sets (13.33 per set) while guiding the team to a .347 attack percentage. She also added a pair of kills, two aces, four digs and a block. Defensively, sophomore Sarah Meister (San Diego, Calif.) was very good as well in her second career start at libero as she corralled a match-high 14 digs.
    Mizzou opened the first set on fire, connecting on its first three attacks and wound up hitting .364 in the first with 16 kills en-route to a 25-17 set win. As good as Mizzou was in the first set offensively, it was even better in the second set as it hit .382 with 18 kills on just 34 attempts as the Tigers pulled away with a 25-19 set win. Following the intermission, Mizzou’s passing broke down a little in the third set, but the Tigers recovered and wound up hitting .294 with 13 kills as they won the final frame, 25-19.


    A&M Downs Auburn for Ninth Straight Win
    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Four players registered double-figure kills to lead Texas A&M to its ninth-straight win, a 25-22, 25-16, 25-27, 25-18 victory over Auburn Sunday afternoon at Reed Arena.
    A&M, 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play, improves to 10-1 overall, tying the school record for best start after 11 matches. Auburn, coming off a 3-0 sweep at Mississippi State on Friday which gave the Tigers their best start in school history, falls to 10-2 overall and 1-1 in the SEC.
    A&M, which entered the match having won the first set in each of its previous 10 matches, jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead in the opening set, mainly due to several unforced attack errors by the Tigers. Auburn eventually settled in, and other than the opening point of the match, got back within a point for the first time at 16-15. Auburn stayed within a point until the Aggies scored three unanswered points to go up 22-18. Auburn, which was outhit .217 to .160 in the stanza, once again chipped away at the lead and got within 23-22 but was unable to take the lead. A kill by A&M junior setter Allie Sawatzky and a sharp angle kill by senior outside hitter Tori Mellinger completed the first-set win for the Aggies, tying the team with the 2007 squad for most consecutive first-set wins at the start of a season.
    The Tigers spotted A&M a 4-0 lead in the second set and were trailing 11-4 when their kill leader, Sarah Bullock, left the match with an ankle injury. With Auburn’s senior leader on the bench, A&M built its largest lead at 17-6 before the Tigers rallied to get within 21-15. It would be the closest they would get as Sawatzky deceptively set the ball over for a kill which began a three-point run for the Aggies. Auburn hit long on the ensuing play, and Aggie freshman Angela Lowak, who had come in off the bench early in the set, got a kill to put A&M at set point. Auburn got a kill, but Lowak then teamed with senior middle blocker Lindsey Miller for a block to close out the set and give the Aggies a 2-0 lead in the match.
    The third set was closely contested with 13 ties and four lead changes. Auburn, which would end up outhitting the Aggies, .244 to .130 in the set, took its first lead in the entire match by scoring the first two points. The Maroon and White would take its first lead in the stanza at 7-6 as senior libero Megan Pendergast served an ace, but Auburn later regained the lead at 13-12 after an A&M attack sailed long.
    A&M would later use a 3-0 run to retake the lead, 17-15, and held a 21-19 advantage when Miller’s off-speed kill began a three-point run by the Aggies. Senior opposite Alisia Kastmo followed Miller’s kill with a kill from the back row, and Mellinger had another cross-court shot that put the Aggies at match point.
    A&M, which had registered sweeps in each of its last six matches, was on the verge of posting its seventh consecutive sweep, but Auburn refused to quit and fought off five match points to take a 25-24 lead after A&M hit into the net. Mellinger knotted the score at 25-all before back-to-back kills by Katherine Culwell clinched Auburn’s come-from-behind 27-25 win.
    Auburn was unable to duplicate its heroic comeback in the fourth set as Miller gave A&M a lead it would not lose after opening the frame with a kill. The Aggies went on to build a 16-10 lead when Auburn rallied for four unanswered points to get within 16-14. A&M countered with a 3-0 run to go up, 19-14.
    After three sideouts, Auburn committed consecutive attack errors and Aggie junior outside hitter Heather Reynolds posted an ace to put A&M ahead, 23-17. Auburn got a kill to end the streak, but Sawatzky countered with a kill to put the Aggies at match point once again. The Tigers staved off one match point but then served wide to end the match.
    Sawatzky finished with 12 kills, one shy of her career high, and also had a season-high 41 assists to give her 2,605 for her career and move her into eighth place in the A&M career records. Mellinger, who played club ball with Bullock and Culwell on the Skyline Juniors team that took second at the 2008 USA Volleyball Junior National Championships, also pitched in 12 kills as well as a team-high 19 digs.
    Miller and Kastmo rounded out the players with double-digit kills with 11 apiece.
    Pendergast had four of A&M’s eight aces to tie her career-high, and she also contributed 17 digs. Reynolds and junior defensive specialist Kelsey Kinley also registered double-figure digs with 12 and 10, respectively.
    Culwell had a match-high 20 kills to lead Auburn, which falls to 0-3 all-time against the Aggies.


    Georgia Defeats Mississippi State 3-1

    STARKVILLE, Miss. – The University of Georgia volleyball team picked up its first Southeastern Conference win with a 3-1 (24-26, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23) win over Mississippi State on Sunday afternoon in Starkville, Miss. With the win, the Bulldogs improve to 7-4 on the season and 1-1 in the SEC. Mississippi State drops to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in league action.

    “We had a tough match on Friday night, but I am really proud of this team for rebounding today against Mississippi State,” head coach Lizzy Stemke said. “Any win on the road in the SEC is a great one. We fought really hard coming off of a tough loss on Friday and were able to get back on track with some of the key points that we’ve committed to this season. We were really tough from the service line and incredibly deep and disciplined with our defense. It was great to see us bounce back and get back on track and we are looking forward to playing at home this weekend.”

    Tirah Le’au and Briana Bahr each finished with a match-high 16 kills, as each hit over .300 at .314 and .448, respectively. Brittany Northcutt earned her second double-double of the season, finishing with 11 kills and 19 digs. Kaylee Kehoe and Maggie Baumert split time at setter, finishing with 30 and 21 assists. The Bulldogs were particularly effective from the service line, finishing with six aces, including three from Jasmine Eatmon and two from Northcutt.

    Elena Perri led the team defensively, finishing with six blocks, while Lauren Teknipp and Bahr added four blocks each.

    After falling 26-24 in a hard-fought first set, Georgia rebounded by winning the next three sets to take the match. Georgia and Mississippi State kept it close in the opening points of set two, tying five times before an Eatmon kill sparked an eight-point run that put the Bulldogs on top 17-9. During the run, Eatmon recorded two aces and two kills. Following an MSU timeout, the teams traded points until back-to-back Georgia kills put the Bulldogs up 21-11. Georgia scored the final three points of the match, including the set-winner on a block by Teknipp and Eatmon to seal the set 25-13 and even the match at 1-1.

    Georgia raced out to a 7-2 lead in the third set before MSU fought back to within three at 9-6. A pair of Georgia kills forced MSU to call a timeout with Georgia leading 14-9. A kill by Perri ignited a 3-0 run that extended Georgia’s lead to 18-10, forcing MSU to use its second timeout of the set. MSU scored three-straight to bring the score to 24-20, but Northcutt finished the set with a kill that gave Georgia a 25-20 win.

    Behind the serve of Kehoe, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth set, before MSU scored five-straight to tie the set a five. The teams kept the set close before a 5-0 Mississippi State run allowed it to take a 12-8 lead. Georgia answered with a run of its own that brought the score within one at 14-13. With Kehoe at the service line, Georgia was able to regain a 17-15 lead. The teams tied four times before a pair of Le’au kills sealed the set 25-23 and the match 3-1.



    TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – After dropping the opening set, the No. 17 Tennessee Lady Vol volleyball team rallied to earn its first Southeastern Conference win of the season on Sunday, topping Alabama in four frames, 3-1 (19-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-15), to pick up a crucial road win at Foster Auditorium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

    Tennessee improves to 8-3 on the season and 1-1 in the SEC, while the Crimson Tide drops to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in the league. It was the ninth straight victory for UT against Alabama. The Big Orange is now 32-12 all-time against the Tide and 13-7 in Tuscaloosa.

    “Alabama came in really fired up and played tough,” said head coach Rob Patrick. “They played a pretty low-error match. We didn’t take care of the ball on our side of the net in the first set. I’m really proud of the team for regrouping in the second set. From then on, we cut down on our errors, were a lot more focused on the ball and what we needed to do and our techniques.

    Junior outside hitter Kelsey Robinson led the match with 20 kills and 14 digs, to record her ninth consecutive and 36th career double-double. Tennessee senior Leslie Cikra added 10 kills and tied a career best with seven blocks, while sophomore Shealyn Kolosky added eight blocks in her first match of the season for the Lady Vols. Robinson and Cikra hit .487 and .476, respectively.

    Redshirt freshman Mercedes Vaughn slammed down a career-best nine kills and hit .368 in the match. Sophomore setter Mary Pollmiller recorded her fourth double-double of the season with a match-high 46 assists and 12 digs, while junior libero Ellen Mullins added 12 scoops for the Orange & White.

    “Mary Pollmiller did a fantastic job of running our offense,” said Patrick. “She got everyone involved in the match. Kelsey Robinson is someone that has been leading us in attempts and she did it again today with 39 and led us in kills. But what I was really proud of was how we got our middles involved. The one middle position had about 15 or 16 attempts. The other position – with Mercedes Vaughn – had 18 attempts, our right side had 19 and our outside had 19 or 20 so I was really pleased with the distribution that Mary had in today’s match. It really kept Alabama off balance in trying to defend our hitters.”

    The Crimson Tide jumped out to a 6-2 lead to start the match, and would later use a pair of 5-0 runs en route to a 25-19 first set victory. The Lady Vols cut Alabama’s lead to 13-9 following a DeeDee Harrison kill and pulled within five at 21-16 with a 6-2 run, but wasn’t able to complete the comeback. Both Harrison and Robinson had three kills in the opening set, while Vaughn had two kills during UT’s 6-2 stretch. It was the first set the Tide has taken off the Big Orange since Oct. 16, 2009.

    Tennessee responded quickly in the second stanza, taking a 2-0 lead with kills from Robinson and Kolosky, who was playing in her first match back from a hand injury. Back to back aces from sophomore Nikki Brice put the Lady Vols up 7-4, but Alabama would rally for a 6-2 run. Down 10-9, UT went on an 8-2 run, which including three kills from Robinson, to go up 17-12 and force a ’Bama timeout. Vaughn came up big at the end of the game, leading UT to a 25-17 victory and leveling the match at one set apiece. The redshirt freshman had five kills in the set, including four late, to bring her match total to seven after two sets. Robinson went into the intermission with nine kills, six digs and a .450 hitting percentage.

    After the break, UT carried its momentum into the third set, going up 4-0 behind two blocks from Cikra. Following three straight Tide points, the Lady Vols went on an 8-1 run to take a 12-4 lead in the crucial third set. The Lady Vols picked up its defensive game in the third, compiling six team blocks. Kolosky and Cikra led the way with four and three in the game, respectively, while Robinson added two. Tennessee went on a 9-3 skid to pull within two points of closing out the set at 23-12. Alabama fought off two Lady Vol set points, but UT went on to win the game, 25-15.

    Robinson took over in the fourth set, compiling seven kills on 10 attempts with no errors for a .700 attacking percentage. Redshirt senior Kayla Jeter made her first appearance in the middle of the set and provided a major spark for the Lady Vols. Jeter jump-started a 5-0 run for the Big Orange, tallying three kills and one big block to seal a 25-15 victory in the fourth frame. The Solon, Ohio, native hit a perfect 1.000 in the game.