2009 Florida Gators Volleyball
Congrats to Florida Gators Volleyball -- 2008 SEC Volleyball Champions!!
Florida Gators Volleyball is the class of SEC Volleyball. No doubt about it. It's no wonder one of their former players, Angie McGinnis, was the Best All-Time SEC Volleyball Player.
The Lady Gators have established themselves in recent years as the preeminent team in the SEC when it comes to women's volleyball. The program has consistently performed at a high level over the past few seasons, and there is little reason to believe that this is a trend that will end.
2008 in Review: In 2008, the Florida Gators managed a tremendous season in which the club went 27-4 and won the SEC conference championship (although were challenged by the University of Kentucky). The team went 18-2 in conference, and was a perfect 16-0 at home. Their losses were 3 road loses and a neutral site game in the postseason tournament vs. Stanford.
What to Look for in 2009: One thing that the Lady Gators most definitely have going for them entering the 2009 season is the fact that their roster is remaining largely intact. In fact, only 2 players from last year's conference champion Lady Gators team are gone, Christina Diaz and Kelsey Bowers. And the Lady Gators have a ton of talented players returning (and truth be told, many are only entering their sophomore or junior seasons, so the Lady Gators should, in fact, be well positioned for 2010 as well).
Two of the most valuable players that are going to be returning to the Lady Gators are Kristy Jaeckel and Kelly Murphy, two of the finest attack players in the conference. Both averaged nearly 3.0 kills per game, and again, both are young and should only get better.
Defensively, the team may suffer slightly with the loss of Bowers, who was the team's 2nd leading blocker. Bowers averaged just less than 1 block per game for the Lady Gators in 2008. However, that loss should be at least partially mitigated by the return of the team's leading blocker, sophomore Cassandra Anderson, who as a freshman averaged more than a block a game. Her continued development, along with the presence of returning senior Kristina Johnson, should more than make up for the loss of Bowers here.
Elsewhere on the court, the far and away leader in digs, Elyse Cusack, returns for her senior season, and figures to provide stable leadership, both in anchoring the defense, as well as in providing a veteran presence for the remainder of this relatively young squad.
2009 Prediction: The University of Florida comes back relatively intact from their 2008 season in which the team won the 2008 SEC title. As a result, there is no reason to believe that Head Coach Mary Wise will be unable to return this team to the top of the SEC once again. And, if this team meshes, a deep NCAA postseason run may also be in this exciting team's future.
Florida Gators Volleyball
You can read more about last year's Florida Gators Volleyball team at 2008 Florida Gators Volleyball Team.
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