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Gators overpower Georgia Southern

Published December 5, 2003

GAINESVILLE - After winning the Southern Conference championship in volleyball, Georgia Southern coach Kerry Messersmith was struck with mixed emotions.

"It was real hard Sunday for us while we were watching the (selection) show," she said. "Your kids are so high from winning the conference tournament, but then it felt like you got kicked in the stomach."

That kick came when the NCAA selection committee announced Georgia Southern was headed to Gainesville to take on the No.3 Gators.

Messersmith's concerns about a dangerous Florida team were warranted as the Gators rolled to a 3-0 (30-18, 30-18, 30-21) victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gators play Central Florida at 7 tonight.

While the end result looked one-sided, Florida coach Mary Wise was impressed with the Eagles. It was the first meeting between the schools.

"Since the very first match I watched them on tape," Wise said, "I have become a very huge fan of the job that (Messersmith) is doing there because they run a great system and the play with so much emotion."

Though Georgia Southern rode a 19-game winning streak into the tournament, outside hitter Martina Veiglova said Florida presented too much of a mismatch in talent.

"There is just a difference between our team and their team," Veiglova said. "But I think we did our best and played hard."

Florida was led by senior Aury Cruz and sophomore Jane Collymore. The outside hitters combined for 35 points.

During the second game, Collymore stepped up her play, recording eight of her 12 kills and both of her service aces. After the game, she said the team was pleased to back at home after being on the road since their last home game Nov.9.

"It is always fun to play in your home gym and have you fans behind you," Collymore said. "And I think we worked hard to have the opportunity to play at home."

* * *

UCF 3, CINCINNATI 2: Central Florida upset Cincinnati in the early game 24-30, 25-30, 30-26, 30-27, 15-9. The Golden Knights won their first NCAA Tournament match since 1997.

The Golden Knights (23-6) are 2-6 all-time in NCAA play and improved to 7-0 in matches that lasted five games. Sophomore outside hitter Emily Watts led UCF with 25 kills and added a team-high 18 digs. Tanya Jarvis added 18 kills and nine digs, and Amanda Stoutjesdyk had 15 kills.

The Bearcats took control early, hitting .447 in the first game. Julie DuPont led the Bearcats with six kills and a .857 hitting percentage in Game 1. Cincinnati was 22-0 this season when winning the first game of a match.

DOOLEY RELEASED: Georgia athletic director Vince Dooley was released from an Athens hospital after being treated for an ulcer.

Dooley, 71, was rushed to the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital after paramedics responded to his wife's 911 call late Monday night. He was diagnosed Wednesday with a gastric ulcer, which caused internal bleeding and severe pain.

Dooley plans to attend Saturday's SEC football championship between No.5 Georgia and third-ranked LSU. His youngest son, Derek, is an assistant coach for the Tigers. The athletic director is in the last year of his contract and will retire in June after 40 years at Georgia. He wanted a contract extension but was turned down by school president Michael Adams.

Dooley coached the Bulldogs football team 25 years, winning six SEC titles and the national championship in 1980. He has been the athletic director since 1979.

Dooley's last major medical problem occurred in 1996, when he had an angioplasty to clear a blockage in an artery near his heart. It was his fifth such procedure since 1987.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

[Last modified December 5, 2003, 01:34:13]


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