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Volleyball gets it done off court

Written by elizabethrhodes, January 29, 2012, 0 Comments,
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The 2011 University of Florida volleyball team had a sensational season journeying all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. While accomplishing such feats, the Gators also managed to keep remarkable grades in the classroom. Maintaining the standard of the Gator Nation’s legacy of academic excellence, 10 volleyball players have been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league offices in Birmingham, Ala., announced Wednesday.

The Florida volleyball team’s 10 academic scholars accounted for more than 23 percent of the 43 SEC Academic selections for the honor roll at the University of Florida. While 12 volleyball players were eligible for the honor roll, two were freshmen, which are only honored on the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll. The 10 players selected for honor roll is the most ever chosen since 2009 and 2006.

The Florida Gators wrapped up the 2011 season with a 27-6 tremendous finish, making their way to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. The Gators reached the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season and despite going into the tournament unseeded, the Gators fought and battled their way through future SEC opponent the Missouri Tigers and No. 6 overall seeded the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on the Panthers’ own campus. Florida defeated both Mizzou (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16) and the Panthers, (16-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-22) 3-1, both times rebounding after falling short in the opening stanza.

The 2011 University of Florida volleyball team had a sensational season journeying all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. While accomplishing such feats, the Gators also managed to keep remarkable grades in the classroom. Maintaining the standard of the Gator Nation’s legacy of academic excellence, 10 volleyball players have been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league offices in Birmingham, Ala., announced Wednesday.

The Florida volleyball team’s 10 academic scholars accounted for more than 23 percent of the 43 SEC Academic selections for the honor roll at the University of Florida. While 12 volleyball players were eligible for the honor roll, two were freshmen, which are only honored on the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.  The 10 players selected for honor roll is the most ever chosen since 2009 and 2006.

The Florida Gators wrapped up the 2011 season with a 27-6 tremendous finish, making their way to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. The Gators reached the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season and despite going into the tournament unseeded, the Gators fought and battled their way through future SEC opponent the Missouri Tigers and No. 6 overall seeded the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on the Panthers’ own campus. Florida defeated both Mizzou (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16) and the Panthers, (16-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-22) 3-1, both times rebounding after falling short in the opening stanza.

These two solid victories in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, brought the Gators back home to Gainesville where they hosted the NCAA Regionals in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Florida first faced off against the Michigan Wolverines where they came out victorious, knocking off the Wolverines in a 3-0 set sweep, 25-21, 25-13, 27-25.

As the Gators advanced to the Elite Eight, they registered the highest hitting efficiency even achieved by any Florida Gator team that deep into the tournament.

“.439 is the highest that any Florida team has hit at this round of the NCAA Tournament,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We’ve said we thought our team was playing its very best. Well, no Gator team has had an offense at that level. Both Kristy (Jaeckel) and Kelly (Murphy) just continue to be in the zone. It’s like the game is moving in slow motion for them in terms of their hitting choices, and then add a triple-double for Kelly and the four blocks by Kristy. I thought we handled their tough serves very well. I think we were very fortunate to win in three and that worked just fine for us.”

With one win away from notching a spot in the NCAA Final Four berth, the Gators left everything they had out on the court in front of a massive 3,523 ecstatic fans. All of the players played with all their heart and soul for their last match of the season.

“For me, I couldn’t be prouder of the way that we fought,” senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel said. “Going into the tournament we were an unseeded team but we went out and we fought as hard as we could and I think that we played the best volleyball that we have all season. Tonight didn’t go our way but I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who stepped up and took their game to the next level these last couple of weeks.”

Illinois took the first set, 25-22, but the Gators rebounded back notching the second stanza, 23-25 for the two teams to head into intermission tied at 1-1. Out of intermission, the Fighting Illini dominated the third set, 25-14 and then closed out the match with a 25-20 win to claim their road to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

“I was really impressed with how we were able come through and fight in every single match,” senior setter/right-side hitter Kelly Murphy said. “We might not have started out well but everyone found a way to step it up and we made it past the Sweet Sixteen which is something that I haven’t been able to do until this year. It was just a lot of fun playing with this team.”

Athlete Major Class/2011 Eligibility

Cassandra Anderson Recreation & Event Management Sr./Sr.

Elissa Hausmann Health Science/Pre-Physical Therapy Sr./Sr.

Kristy Jaeckel Sport Management Gr./Sr.

Chloe Mann Business Administration Gr./So.

Kelly Murphy Elementary Education Sr./Sr.

Holly Pole Sport Management So./Fr.

Betsy Smith Business Administration/Political Science Sr./Jr.

Taylor Unroe Family, Youth, and Community Sciences So./Fr.

Sundai Weston Public Relations Jr./Jr.

Tangerine Wiggs English Sr./Jr.

Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at lizxxbeth@gators.ufl.edu.

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The 2011 University of Florida volleyball team had a sensational season journeying all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. While accomplishing such feats, the Gators also managed to keep remarkable grades in the classroom. Maintaining the standard of the Gator Nation’s legacy of academic excellence, 10 volleyball players have been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league offices in Birmingham, Ala., announced Wednesday.

The Florida volleyball team’s 10 academic scholars accounted for more than 23 percent of the 43 SEC Academic selections for the honor roll at the University of Florida. While 12 volleyball players were eligible for the honor roll, two were freshmen, which are only honored on the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll. The 10 players selected for honor roll is the most ever chosen since 2009 and 2006.

The Florida Gators wrapped up the 2011 season with a 27-6 tremendous finish, making their way to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. The Gators reached the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season and despite going into the tournament unseeded, the Gators fought and battled their way through future SEC opponent the Missouri Tigers and No. 6 overall seeded the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on the Panthers’ own campus. Florida defeated both Mizzou (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16) and the Panthers, (16-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-22) 3-1, both times rebounding after falling short in the opening stanza.

The 2011 University of Florida volleyball team had a sensational season journeying all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. While accomplishing such feats, the Gators also managed to keep remarkable grades in the classroom. Maintaining the standard of the Gator Nation’s legacy of academic excellence, 10 volleyball players have been named to the Southeastern Conference Fall Academic Honor Roll, the league offices in Birmingham, Ala., announced Wednesday.

The Florida volleyball team’s 10 academic scholars accounted for more than 23 percent of the 43 SEC Academic selections for the honor roll at the University of Florida. While 12 volleyball players were eligible for the honor roll, two were freshmen, which are only honored on the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll.  The 10 players selected for honor roll is the most ever chosen since 2009 and 2006.

The Florida Gators wrapped up the 2011 season with a 27-6 tremendous finish, making their way to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. The Gators reached the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season and despite going into the tournament unseeded, the Gators fought and battled their way through future SEC opponent the Missouri Tigers and No. 6 overall seeded the University of Northern Iowa Panthers on the Panthers’ own campus. Florida defeated both Mizzou (23-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16) and the Panthers, (16-25, 25-14, 25-14, 25-22) 3-1, both times rebounding after falling short in the opening stanza.

These two solid victories in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, brought the Gators back home to Gainesville where they hosted the NCAA Regionals in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Florida first faced off against the Michigan Wolverines where they came out victorious, knocking off the Wolverines in a 3-0 set sweep, 25-21, 25-13, 27-25.

As the Gators advanced to the Elite Eight, they registered the highest hitting efficiency even achieved by any Florida Gator team that deep into the tournament.

“.439 is the highest that any Florida team has hit at this round of the NCAA Tournament,” Florida head coach Mary Wise said. “We’ve said we thought our team was playing its very best. Well, no Gator team has had an offense at that level. Both Kristy (Jaeckel) and Kelly (Murphy) just continue to be in the zone. It’s like the game is moving in slow motion for them in terms of their hitting choices, and then add a triple-double for Kelly and the four blocks by Kristy. I thought we handled their tough serves very well. I think we were very fortunate to win in three and that worked just fine for us.”

With one win away from notching a spot in the NCAA Final Four berth, the Gators left everything they had out on the court in front of a massive 3,523 ecstatic fans. All of the players played with all their heart and soul for their last match of the season.

“For me, I couldn’t be prouder of the way that we fought,” senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel said. “Going into the tournament we were an unseeded team but we went out and we fought as hard as we could and I think that we played the best volleyball that we have all season. Tonight didn’t go our way but I couldn’t be more proud of everyone who stepped up and took their game to the next level these last couple of weeks.”

Illinois took the first set, 25-22, but the Gators rebounded back notching the second stanza, 23-25 for the two teams to head into intermission tied at 1-1. Out of intermission, the Fighting Illini dominated the third set, 25-14 and then closed out the match with a 25-20 win to claim their road to the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.

“I was really impressed with how we were able come through and fight in every single match,” senior setter/right-side hitter Kelly Murphy said. “We might not have started out well but everyone found a way to step it up and we made it past the Sweet Sixteen which is something that I haven’t been able to do until this year. It was just a lot of fun playing with this team.”

Athlete Major Class/2011 Eligibility

Cassandra Anderson Recreation & Event Management Sr./Sr.

Elissa Hausmann Health Science/Pre-Physical Therapy Sr./Sr.

Kristy Jaeckel Sport Management Gr./Sr.

Chloe Mann Business Administration Gr./So.

Kelly Murphy Elementary Education Sr./Sr.

Holly Pole Sport Management So./Fr.

Betsy Smith Business Administration/Political Science Sr./Jr.

Taylor Unroe Family, Youth, and Community Sciences So./Fr.

Sundai Weston Public Relations Jr./Jr.

Tangerine Wiggs English Sr./Jr.

Gator Country reporter Elizabeth Rhodes can be reached at lizxxbeth@gators.ufl.edu.

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