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Florida volleyball team beats MSU again


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE --┬áMake it 41 victories in a row for the University of Florida volleyball program against Mississippi State University. 


Victory No. 41 in the series, without a loss to the Bulldogs, didn't look much different than the previous matches, as No. 12 Florida (11-2, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) swept its way to a 25-14, 25-9, 25-18 victory Sunday at the Newell-Grissom Building. 


Florida clicked on all cylinders, led by senior right-side hitter Tangerine Wiggs (nine kills). The 6-foot-4 Washington State University transfer hit .304 and had four blocks. Wiggs, a Seattle native, transferred from the Pacific-12 Conference school because she wasn't satisfied with the playing time she was getting. 


Florida used a 6-0 run behind the serve of sophomore Madison Monserez to take an 8-1 lead in the first set. 


MSU coach Jenny Hazelwood was forced to use her second timeout of the set with her team down 13-5. 


"I just thought that old mentality crept back into their minds again, and we'd worked so hard this week in practice to become a different team mentally," Hazelwood said. 


During the timeout, Hazelwood screamed at her starters that they weren't executing the scouting reports she and her staff detailed about the Gators' front line that includes four players 6-2 or taller. The Gators ended the afternoon with 20 blocks and five players with multiple blocks. 


"We told them they're not going to be able to hit through the blocks and then they just went ahead and forgot everything we worked on," Hazelwood said. "As much as we put (MSU assistant coach) Taylor Evans on defense, it's tough because they take away a lot of the court." 


Freshman Taylor Scott led MSU with 10 kills. She reached double figures in kills for the fourth time in five SEC matches. MSU has won only four sets in the series against Florida. 


"So much of this match was decided on the first contact behind the service line," Florida coach Mary Wise said. "To beat teams, you have to serve and block well because that sets up everything else. We served well, we blocked well, and we had fantastic defensive back row play, and that's what we were really trying to emphasize with the team." 


MSU freshman Roxanne McVey, who registered an SEC-record 50 digs Friday in a 3-2 loss to LSU, had a team-leading 15 digs. 


"She's been really good all season long, but what she did against LSU was remarkable," Hazelwood said. "She just anchors what we what want to do defensively. She has a great future." 


Wise also was impressed with the play of the freshman libero from Magnolia, Texas. 


"I think the (MSU) team we see later this season will be very different," Wise said. "I love their libero (because) she's just a freshman and sets an SEC record in the first month of her career. I think she'll be someone to reckon with all four years." 


MSU closed the month of September with a 2-8 mark. It will play six of its eight matches on the road in October. MSU will travel to Auburn University for a 6:30 p.m. match Friday. It will play its first match against SEC newcomer Texas A&M on Sunday in College Station, Texas.



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