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Gators eliminate FAMU in NCAA volleyball opener

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 30, 2001

GAINESVILLE -- The Florida volleyball team will not have long to celebrate Thursday's victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gators beat Florida A&M 3-0 at the O'Connell Center and play Florida International at 7 tonight.

"It's not just about win and move on," Gators coach Mary Wise said. "You want to be playing your best volleyball. I'm not just happy that we won tonight, I'm happy that we played well."

The Gators won 30-20, 30-13 and 30-22 and outblocked the Rattlers 14-1.

Wise said she knew blocking would be key for because of Florida A&M's hitting percentage of .351, second in the nation.

"They certainly get an earful during practice about blocking," Wise said. "We take pride in our blocking. We knew that was going to be the key, and so we spent extra time on that during practice."

The Gators hit .394 and held the Rattlers to .057 efficiency. Middle blocker Benavia Jenkins led Florida with a .667 hitting efficiency and had 12 kills, and middle blocker Nicole McCray led the team with eight block assists.

Jenkins said it is important to come out just as strong tonight: "Tomorrow we're going to get ready to play Florida International. We'll have to play hard against FIU tomorrow because we know they will come in hard against us, because we are both trying to get to the next round."

FIU advanced with a 30-28, 30-21, 30-25 win over Central Florida. Nirvana Kos had 18 kills and hit .586 to lead FIU.

BASEBALL: B.J. Foley of Corbin, Ky., signed a letter of intent to play at Tampa. The 6-foot, 185-pound second baseman hit .500 with nine home runs and 64 RBIs as a senior.

DIVING: On the first of three days of the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville, Florida's Zach Wilcox finished second in the 3-meter event with 521 points, and Reggie Coote was fourth with 424.3.

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