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Friday, December 01, 2023

The corny, Halloween-themed jokes are easy to make.

South Carolina was spooked.

No treats for the Gamecocks on Halloween night.

It was scary how well the Gators played.

But this is the bottom line: The No. 10 UF volleyball team (21-1, 14-1 Southeastern Conference) defeated South Carolina like it had not defeated an opponent in years, ending the match in just under an hour and a half (30-18, 30-9, 30-20).

"I don't even know where to begin," UF coach Mary Wise said. "There were so many good things that happened on the court tonight."

The Gators' offensive performance was staggering.

Through two games, UF outscored South Carolina 60-27. Senior middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth tallied 11 kills on 12 attacks, giving her a ridiculously high .917 hitting percentage.

"She's probably mad about the 12th kill that she didn't get," Wise said.

Senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton had a match-high 17 kills and also added 10 digs for her 39th career double-double.

"She's a senior, and we're holding her together with Band-Aids, but boy, did she have great energy tonight," Wise said.

The Gators managed a .462 hitting percentage. The Gamecocks' hit a lousy .040.

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UF officially finished off South Carolina on a Killingsworth kill in game three, but the match was over much earlier than that.

In game two, the Gators held a team to a single-digit score for the first time since 2004.

South Carolina had no answer for Hampton early in the game. She had a spectacular four kills in the first six points, prompting the Gamecocks to call a timeout down 6-0.

The timeout did little to help, and the Gators won six of the next seven points to take a 12-1 lead.

South Carolina quickly called its second timeout to stop the bleeding, but the game was hardly over for the Gamecocks. The Gators built up a huge lead, winning it by 21 points.

By the time UF was up 22-8, the starters were sitting on the bench and the backup players were joining the fun.

Senior setter Angie McGinnis also had a huge game for UF, becoming the school's all-time leader in digs for a setter, passing former Gators player Lauren Moscovic.

McGinnis is the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Week. She added four kills to UF's total.

"Had game two not been like it was - if all of them were like game three - I think Angie was on her way to a triple-double," Wise said. "You could just feel it."

Freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers continued to impress, scoring eight kills and eight digs.

"How about the back-row attack by Callie Rivers?" Wise said. "She is such a competitive player, and I love how she swings…. She just goes and rips it. She's going to be a big-time points-scorer for us down the road."

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