Volleyball Beats MSU for 8th Straight Sweep

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 13 Florida volleyball team continued its sweep streak behind the stellar performances of junior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (Seattle, Wash.) and senior middle blocker Cassandra Anderson (Bakersfield, Calif.), as the Gators defeated Mississippi State, 3-0 (25-23, 25-18, 25-18) on Sunday afternoon.

With the Gators' eighth consecutive 3-0 sweep, Florida moved to 17-3 on the season and 10-1 in SEC play. The Orange and Blue have not dropped a set since their 5-set defeat at home against Tennessee on September 25th, winning 24 straight sets.

Wiggs led the Gators with 11 kills on 17 swings with no errors, hitting .647 against Mississippi State. Anderson had one of her most complete performances of the season, notching eight kills on 12 swings, hitting an error-less and match-high .667 to go along with match-highs in blocks (four) and aces (three).

Florida's senior All-Americans Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) combined for 15 kills and 18 digs on the afternoon, as Jaeckel saw her 14-match double-digit hitting streak come to an end on Sunday. Three Gators had double-digit digs on the afternoon, as Jaeckel, freshman defensive specialist Madison Monserez (Orlando, Fla.) and redshirt freshman libero Taylor Unroe (Muncie, Ind.) each contributed 10 digs against the Bulldogs.

The first frame started off in favor of the Gators with a Ferrell missile through the Bulldog defense, and a Murphy service ace that widened the Orange and Blue lead over Mississippi State, 4-0. Anderson found the seam of the Bulldog block and sparked a 3-0 run for the Gators, 8-2. The aggressive Florida offense continued with back-to-back Jaeckel kills that gave the Gators their biggest lead of the set, 11-2. Mississippi State battled back with a 3-0 run, reducing the Florida lead to 15-9. A 4-0 run put the Bulldogs only two points away from tying the set, 19-17, despite a Gator timeout in an attempt to shift momentum. The Gators took their second timeout of the set after Murphy hit a ball long and tied the set at 21-21. An Anderson-Jaeckel stuff block put Florida at set point, 24-22. Wiggs delivered the final cross-court blast that secured the first set for Florida, 25-23.

Florida took an initial 2-0 lead over Mississippi State to begin the second stanza. The Bulldogs fought for the lead and after multiple ties and lead changes, Mississippi State went on a 7-0 tear, taking a 13-5 lead. The momentum finally changed after Jaeckel broke the seam of a Mississippi block that sparked an 8-0 run for Florida, tying the score at 13 behind the serve of Jaeckel. An Anderson blast through the middle of the Bulldog defense put the Gators just five points away from the set win, 20-16. Mississippi State could not recover the lead, and a Bulldog attacking error gave Florida the 25-18 set win and the 2-0 advantage going into intermission.

An Anderson bullet through a Bulldog block put her behind the service line for a 3-0 run that gave the Gators a 4-2 lead. Both teams continued to trade points, tying the score another six times before a Wiggs attack ignited a 3-0 run, giving the Gators a 14-10 advantage. The Orange and Blue extended the lead to 18-11, courtesy of a 4-0 with sophomore setter Chanel Brown (Tempe, Ariz.) behind the service line. A Ferrell blast gave the Gators their biggest lead of the third frame, 21-13, and Anderson's ace ended the set with a 25-18 victory and a 3-0 match win. Florida hit .304 in the match while holding Mississippi State to a .209 hitting clip. The Gators have outhit every opponent they have faced this season. The Orange and Blue also outblocked (6.0-4.0), outdug (47-44) and outscored (56.0-46.0) the Bulldogs.

The Gators now prepare for their biggest road trip of the season, as Florida travels to No. 20 Tennessee and No. 24 Kentucky next weekend. The weekend's matches will determine who takes a definitive lead in the SEC, as the Gators and the Lady Vols only have one SEC loss apiece and the Wildcats are not far behind at 10-2 in the SEC. Florida's match against the Lady Vols begins at 7 p.m. with longtime Gator Sports Network analyst Tom Collett on the call on. Sunday's matchup with the Wildcats will air on Sun Sports, courtesy of the Big Blue Network. First serve is set for 1:30 p.m.

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