Volleyball’s Kelly Murphy up for Lowe’s Senior Award

University of Florida’s Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) was one of ten NCAA® women’s volleyball players selected as a finalist Wednesday for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and must excel in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. In Murphy’s time as a Florida Gator, UF won two SEC championships and accumulated a phenomenal 94-15 record.

UF boasts three winners and seven total finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. In 2009, baseball’s Brandon McArthur, football’s Tim Tebow and softball’s Stacey Nelson were winners of the honorable award. Past finalists include former Gator All-Americans Matt LaPorta (baseball), Francesca Enea (softball) and Stephanie Brombacher (softball).

Murphy holds the school record for triple doubles with a career of 26 and 68 career double doubles. The Illinois native is a three-time All-American and last season’s SEC Player of the Year.  She was honored First Team in SEC in 2010 and was named the AVCA National Freshman of the Year in 2008. Murphy recorded her 2,000th assist this season and reached 1,000 kills and points her junior year.

Murphy currently ranks in the SEC top-10 in hitting percentage, assists and service aces and leads the Gators in assists with 5.75 per set and service aces .44 per set. In 2010, she was the only player to individually rank in the Southeastern Conference’s top-10 in hitting percentage, kills per set and service aces per set.

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, sponsors honorable attributes of senior student athletes. The award program is designed specifically for college seniors who are focused on excelling as both a student and athlete and use their platform in athletics to be positive leaders in their communities. The award is sponsored by Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, and is overseen by Premier Sports Management.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in August. Nationwide, fans can vote on either the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website or the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through November 21. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner.

The ten finalists include: Texas middle blocker Rachael Adams, Miami (Fla.) outside hitter Lane Carico, Hawaii outside hitter Kanani Danielson, North Caroline libero Kaylie Gibson, College of Charleston middle blocker Sarah Havel, Pepperdine opposite hitter/middle blocker Kim Hill, San Antonio libero Kelsey Jewasko, California outside hitter Tarah Murrey, St. John’s (NY) outside/middle hitter Darlene Ramdin, and Florida’s own Kelly Murphy.

Lowe’s will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner during the 2011 NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship, which will be played December 15 and 17 in San Antonio.

For more information on the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.

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