#7 Florida Defeats #19 Illinois 3-0
Aug. 31, 2002
Gainesville, Fla. - The No. 7 Florida Gators captured the title of the University Centre Hotel Invitational, defeating No. 19 Illinois in straight games in the championship match this afternoon. Florida won the match by the score of 30-16, 32-30, 30-25.
After a slow start in game one, the Illini rebounded and played inspired volleyball in the second game. Illinois and the Gators battled point-for-point the entire way, and the Illini had two chances to close out the game, serving game-point at 29-28 and 30-29. But Sue Webber had an attack error on the first game-point opportunity, while Jessica Belter tallied a service error on the second chance. Florida then scored the final two points to take a commanding 2-0 lead into intermission.
Illinois fell behind again early on in the third game but made another comeback, cutting an eight-point deficit (27-19) to three (27-24) after a 5-0 run. But the Gators then closed out the match, spoiling Illinois' hopes for an upset.
The Illini hit just .050 as a team for the match, while the Gators hit an efficient .376. Florida also outblocked the Illini 9-to-5. The Gators game plan was to try and shut down Illini middle blocker Lisa Argabright, sending two blockers at Argabright every time she swung. And while Argabright tallied nine kills (tying for team-high honors with sophomore Melissa Vandrey), she hit just .091, recording seven errors in 22 swings.
Florida was led by 12 kills from Michelle Chatman and 11 kills by Jacque Robinson. Nicole McCray added 10 kills, while Benavia Jenkins hit .750 and tallied nine kills.
The Illini are next in action next weekend at the Loyola Invitational in Chicago.