Murphy, Wise, volleyball honored with SEC awards

Finishing the season with a perfect 20-0 record in the Southeastern Conference and a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA Championship Tournament, No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (27-1) was honored by the SEC on Monday with a number of awards.

Florida junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy was named the 2010 SEC Player of the Year, head coach Mary Wise was named 2010 SEC Coach of the Year and six Gators earned All-SEC recognition including three to the First Team.

Joining Murphy on the First Team were seniors middle back Lauren Bledsoe and outside hitter Callie Rivers. Junior MB Cassandra Anderson and junior OH Kristy Jackel were named to the Second Team, while freshman setter Chanel Brown earned All-SEC Freshman Team recognition.

Florida will host the first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Championship at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Opening round action for the Gators begins on Friday when they face South Carolina State at 7:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Southeastern Conference

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TWO BITS: Volleyball earns No. 1 NCAA seed

1 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball earned the program’s first-ever No. 1 national seed on Sunday when the NCAA officially announced the 64-team bracket for the 2010 NCAA Volleyball Championship. One of six Southeastern Conference schools to qualify for the tournament, Florida will take its 22-match winning streak into the event. The Gators finished the regular season a perfect 20-0 in SEC competition, the first team to do so since the schedule was adjusted in 2006. Florida (27-1) will face South Carolina State (17-22) to start off their tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m. as the first and second rounds will be hosted from Dec. 3-4 in Gainesville, FL. Also in UF’s region are Florida State (21-10) and Georgia Southern (27-8). Though being a No. 1 seed is new for the Gators, hosting NCAA action is not; Florida has started the NCAA Tournament at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center 19 times in the last 20 seasons.

The Gators completed their perfect SEC slate on Friday by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-12) on the road at the Volleyball Competition Facility in Columbia, SC. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers notched a team-high nine kills while junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy totaled seven kills, 12 assists, four digs, four service aces and a season-high five blocks.

2 » Florida women’s basketball was also busy over the weekend; the ladies were victorious in back-to-back contests to win the 2010 Dead River Company Classic in Orno, ME. The Gators (5-1) defeated the South Alabama Jaguars (3-3) 61-51 on Friday and ended the short tournament with a 52-43 win over the Navy Midshipmen (4-2) on Saturday. Florida junior center Azania Stewart was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after totaling 24 rebounds in two games. UF redshirt junior guard Jordan Jones was placed on the All-Tournament Team due to her stellar performance including 18 points.

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Florida soccer tops USC for SEC Championship

Defeating the No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks (14-5-4, 8-3-1 SEC) one week ago for the Southeastern Conference regular season title, the No. 7 Florida Gators soccer team (18-2-2, 10-1-1 SEC) took them down once again on Sunday, this time by a score of 1-0 to capture the 2010 SEC Championship in the conclusion of the SEC Tournament at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, AL.

With the win, Florida earned an automatic berth to compete for the 2010 NCAA Championship later this week. The Gators lead all league teams with nine SEC Tournament titles; Saturday’s win marked their first since 2007.

Florida out-shot South Carolina 16-11, with their sole score coming via an own goal from the Gamecocks at 69′. UF crossed the ball into the penalty area, but a deflection off a defender from USC was sent into the net for the goal.

The Gators now await seeding in the NCAA Tournament; their spot will be officially announced on Monday, Nov. 8 at 4:30 p.m. live on ESPNU. First-round action in the event is set to begin on Friday, Nov. 12.

Photo Credit: Southeastern Conference

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FOUR BITS: Young, Johnson, soccer, education

1 » Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young has been selected to be a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U-18 National Team. Picked as one of 12 of the nation’s top players age 18 or younger, Young will be under the leadership of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel while competing for the 2010 FIBA U18 Championship for Men from June 26-30 in San Antonio, TX.

2 » Also earning national recognition is Florida freshman pitcher/designated hitter Brian Johnson, who was invited to tryout for the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team from July 5-11 at the National Training Complex in Cary, NC. Johnson hopes to be one of 22 players selected for the final roster, which will compete until Aug. 7.

3 » Gators soccer released its 2010 schedule Wednesday, and the match-ups ahead for the women do not appear to be any easier than they have been in previous seasons. Florida is set to face nine teams who competed for the 2009 NCAA Championship – the ninth time in program history that their schedule is so top-heavy. The Gators will begin on Aug. 20 against Miami in Gainesville, FL, and will face notable teams of Florida State, Duke and North Carolina on the road before beginning their Southeastern Conference slate. In the middle of the season, Florida will play five consecutive road games; the team does not have a home stand longer than two games after Sept. 3.

4 » Seeing as most of OGGOA’s readers either attended the University of Florida, hoped to attend UF or have children at the school, it is important to note that the university was ranked No. 15 on Wednesday when U.S. News & World Report released their list of the top public institutions in the United States. No SEC schools finished ahead of Florida and, of course, they were tied with the University of Texas for the 15th slot. Other notable rankings include Georgia (21), Auburn (T39), Alabama (T43), Florida State (T48), Tennessee (T52), and LSU, Arkansas and Kentucky (all T64).

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TWO BITS: SEC football record, golf finishes 11th

1 » The Florida Gators have an opportunity to set yet another Southeastern Conference record on Sept. 4 when they open the 2010 football season against Miami (OH). Already tied with the Ole Miss Rebels for the most consecutive season openers without a loss (20), Florida can take sole possession of the record by winning their first game of the season at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL. The Gators already hold the record for most consecutive wins to start a season, seeing as the Rebels’ record (stretching from 1947-66) includes a 0-0 tie in 1963.

2 » Shooting a 293 (+5) in the final round of the 2010 NCAA Championship, Florida men’s golf finished tied for 11th in the tournament with a total team score of 869 (+5). At one point during the event, the Gators were just within a few strokes of the lead; by the end, they were 19 strokes back of the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ 850 (-14). The top eight finishers (also including Florida State, Georgia Tech, Washington, Oregon, Augusta State, Texas Tech and Stanford) will compete in the match play portion of the event next week. For the Gators, their season is over.

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Meyer consoles Boonstra after championship loss

Florida Gators senior tennis player Marrit Boonstra effectively lost the 2010 NCAA National Championship – that is, unfortunately, a fact. It is also the position she was put in by her teammates, who had tied their final match with the Stanford Cardinal 3-3 with Boonstra left as the only player still on the court.

Nevertheless, neither a single one of her teammates nor any Florida fans nor anyone in the athletic department blamed her for the loss – especially seeing as she took her opponent to the brink before falling 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in a wild third set.

While Boonstra and her entire team were crushed, so was head football coach Urban Meyer, who was watching on television alongside his family back in Gainesville, FL. Rather than stand idly by as Boonstra wallowed in the outcome, Florida Today reports that he decided to do whatever he could to make her feel better.

“[Meyer called me and] told me he and his family had watched the match and they were all cheering and they were all so proud of me,” Boonstra told the paper. “That call made me feel a lot better. It helped me out a lot.”

That wasn’t all.

Meyer also went out of his way to send her a personal card, applauding her efforts and calling her “special.” “Every coach dreams of having a team of competitors,” Meyer wrote. “Unfortunately, there are not enough like you.”

Boonstra has since returned to her home country of The Netherlands and will do her best to compete internationally as a representative of Holland. She finished her Gators career with a fantastic 77-16 singles record, 60-9 dual match mark and 75-22 doubles record (24-4 this season with freshman Allie Will). Her championship match loss also ended a personal 17-match singles winning streak.

Photo Credit: University of Florida

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SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

1 » After two days of action at the 2010 NCAA Championship in Ooltewah, TN, Florida Gators men’s golf is tied for fifth place with an even par score of 576. Florida is 14 shots off of the leader (Florida State, 562) and will compete in the final round on Thursday.

2 » CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson questions whether or not the Gators will remain successful running the spread offense without former quarterback Tim Tebow (now with the Denver Broncos) at the helm. “I’m still not sure any other spread will work in this conference,” he told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. “They cannot have John Brantley getting hit 12-15 times per game. He’s too valuable. […] It was tough for [Tebow] to take the punishment of [the SEC]. This conference is more and more simulating the NFL, with sophisticated defense to put hits on people.”

Four more BITS including a softball preview, updates on Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes and a Florida Gators *trivia* question…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

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SIX BITS: W-tennis advances, Tebow’s tracker, Slive’s contract, Emmitt’s homecoming

1 » Advancing to the 2010 NCAA Tournament semifinals for the 20th time in the last 24 years, the No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis team (28-2) swept the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes (20-6) 4-0 on Saturday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA. The No. 5 doubles pair of senior Marrit Boonstra and freshman Allie Will defeated the No. 6 Miami pairing 7-6 DNF; both No. 65 Boonstra and No. 8 Will also won their singles matches. No. 9 freshman Lauren Embree was impressive in her victory over No. 7 Laura Vallverdu, winning in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. Florida will face no. 2 North Carolina (30-4) on Monday at 1 p.m. for a chance to advance to the championship game.

2 » As if the media’s obsession with Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Tim Tebow had not previously reached a peak – it has now. ESPN.com has just unveiled a “Tim Tebow Tracker” for its unique Tebow Watch page. It is not yet filled with much content (mostly things you have read elsewhere – cough, cough), but as the offseason progresses it should get filled up quite nicely. You can check it out by clicking here.

Four more BITS on the SEC commissioner’s contract, a honor for Emmitt Smith, golf advancing and baseball losing its regular season finale…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: W-tennis advances, Tebow’s tracker, Slive’s contract, Emmitt’s homecoming

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