Despite a heartbreaking 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 14-25, 20-25) loss against the Illinois Fighting Illini in the NCAA Regional Finals in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center last Saturday night, a pair of Florida volleyball seniors still are racking up awards.
Gators right-side hitter/setter Kelly Murphy was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s First Team All-American team on Wednesday, making her the first four-time All-American in school history. Senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel was named an AVCA Second Team All-American after earning honorable mention honors a year ago.
Even though these senior duo’s careers have come to an end, the accomplishments and honors they have brought to the University of Florida’s volleyball team will never be forgotten.
Murphy notched many outstanding accolades throughout her senior year including becoming a 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award finalist and leading the Gators with 693 assists on the year. Here are a few more of Murphy’s statistical superlatives:
• She finished fifth in the Southeastern Conference in service aces notching 38 on the year.
• She also finished fifth in the conference for hitting percentage hitting on a .330 clip.
• The setter and right-side hitter is second in kills (297) and points(367), and third in digs (271).
The Illinois native has started every match and set of her career, ranks in the top-10 all-time at Florida in kills, points, assists, service aces and hitting percentage. Murphy has 28 career triple-doubles and 74 career double-doubles and is a three-time All-American. Murphy was also named to the 2011 Preseason All-SEC selection, the All-Tournament Team at the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic, the Active Ankle SEC/ACC Challenge and the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational. Murphy was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week for her triple-double in a 3-set sweep of Mississippi State.
Murphy becomes part of an elite group, as she is one of only two 2011 athletes named to an All-Region Team for all four years of her career joining Kanani Danielson from the University of Hawaii.
Jaeckel left everything out on the court her senior year and she earned the title of the 2011 SEC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year and leads Florida in kills, points and aces on the season.
• The outside hitter registered 305 kills on the season to rank seventh in the SEC to go along with 500.5 points for fourth in the SEC.
• The Colorado native finished with 49 aces to lead the SEC and rank 27st in the NCAA.
• She was third on the team in digs with 268 and blocks with 72, including a team-high 21 block solos.
• Jaeckel’s name is etched all over the Florida record books. She finished her career as fifth all-time in attacks with 3,405, seventh in kills with 1,331, ninth in points with 1,588.0 and 10th in block solos with 58.
Jaeckel was the AVCA National Player of the Week and SEC Offensive Player of the Week for her performances in road games at Auburn and Georgia. She was also named to the All-Tournament Team at the Nike Big Four Volleyball Classic, the Active Ankle SEC/ACC Challenge and the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational, where she was named the Tournament MVP. Jaeckel was also a 2011 Preseason All-SEC selection and is a CoSIDA First Team Academic All-District selection. In addition, she’s a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll who is majoring in Sports Management and sporting a perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average.
During last Saturday’s final post-game press conference, Florida head coach Mary Wise made certain everyone in attendance heard about the importance the seniors served for the program.
“Irreplaceable,” Wise said. “Not just their talents, but the quality people. It will be tough. I can’t say enough great things about these to, to go out swinging.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get every Gator’s ‘A’ game (against Illinois) and we knew that to win the match, we would need everybody’s ‘A’ game. A couple of our players just had an off night but it wasn’t Kristy and Kelly. These two just played awesome. They have given everything possible throughout their careers.”
Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at email@example.com.