SEC honors Smith’s community work

Junior middle blocker Betsy Smith was named to the 2011 Southeastern Conference Volleyball Community Service Team for the second consecutive year on Tuesday by the league offices in Birmingham, Ala.

The Georgia native volunteers on the University of Florida campus and throughout the Gainesville community in multiple organizations, including Baby Gators, Storybook Saturdays, Mebane Middle School, Shands Hospital, Shands Miracle Network, Buchholz High School Prime Time After School Program and Miracle on Main.

“She befriended a sick child in the community, has helped with the family and does that totally on her own,” Florida coach Mary Wise said. “Does not seek any limelight or accolades for it. It’s just who she is as a person.“

She was also a vital portion of Florida’s efforts in the SEC Together We CAN food drive and is currently assisting with Gator Tracks, a program developed to provide children throughout Gainesville with new shoes.

The junior has started 27 matches for the Gators and is second on the team in hitting efficiency, hitting at a .393 clip. She has recorded a team-high of errorless performances, notching seven this season. Smith leads the Florida Gators with .97 blocks per set, racking up 92 total.

Smith maintains a stellar 3.86 GPA, double majoring in business administration and political science and minoring in mass communications.

“Betsy doesn’t do it just on the court,” Wise said. “She’s a (strong) student with like 15 different majors who wants to go onto law school … She is a special person and player.”

Smith is also the president of Florida’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and previously served as SAAC treasurer during the 2010-2011 school year. In addition, she is Florida’s representative for the SEC’s SAAC meetings.

The Gators wrapped up regular season play at 24-5 and are 17-3 in the SEC. Florida finished the conference tied for second place with Kentucky as the Wildcats fell to the Tennessee Lady Vols in the SEC Championship match.

The Gators are headed to Cedar Falls, Iowa, to face future SEC opponent Missouri (21-12, 7-9 Big 12) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the 21st consecutive season and 22nd overall that Florida has advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Gators play the Tigers in the McLeod Center at 6 p.m. on Friday.

The Gators will be hosting the regional finals for the NCAA Tournament on December 9-10 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. For tickets to the NCAA Regional tickets, log on to