FOUR BITS: volleyball at No. 1, soccer, swimming

1 » Continuing a string of dominating Southeastern Conference performance, the Florida Gators volleyball team took home a pair of 3-0 sweeps while on the road over the weekend against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday night (25-23, 25-21, 25-20) and the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday (25-14, 25-20, 25-16). Juniors outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel and right-side/setter Kelly Murphy combined for 21 kills to led Florida (14-1, 7-0 SEC) on Friday over Alabama (8-8, 0-6 SEC), while Murphy was at it again with a team-high 13 kills Sunday as UF rolled over Mississippi State (10-8, 2-4 SEC). The Gators received exciting news on Monday as the American Volleyball Coaches Association moved them up to No. 1 in their rankings for the first time since 1996. UF is 8-1 against teams ranked in the top 25 this season.

2 » Contrary to volleyball’s performance, No. 6 Florida soccer (10-2-2, 4-1-1 SEC) had a rougher road trip weekend tying Alabama (8-2-2, 3-0-2 SEC) 1-1 in double overtime Friday before falling to the Auburn Tigers (9-5, 3-3 SEC) 1-0 on Sunday. Against the Crimson Tide, Gators midfielder/forward Tahnai Annis got her team on the board early with a goal from four yards out at 47’. Unfortunately on both Friday and Sunday, Florida allowed an opposing goal at 90’ which led to the respective tie and loss. The Gators remain the leaders in the SEC even after the tough weekend.

3 » Florida men’s (0-1) and women’s (1-0) swimming and diving competed against the Virginia Cavaliers at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natatorium on Monday with the men falling short 153-145 while the women pulled off a close 150-148 victory in the first team event of the season. Freshman Elizabeth Beisel led the ladies by winning the 200-yard backstroke (1:58:.29) and 200-yard individual medley (2:00.89). Like usual senior captain Conor Dwyer was the best men’s performer winning the 200-yard IM and both 100-yard and 200-yard freestyle.

4 » As the Gators basketball team prepares for the 2010-11 season (media day is this week!), head coach Billy Donovan spoke about the expectations surrounding his squad, which is returning all five starters from a year ago. “What ends up happening sometimes in college basketball is that when you have all five starters returning from a team that went to the NCAA Tournament, the expectation is we’re going to be really, really good,” Donovan said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “But I also think we were one of those teams on Selection Sunday that had our fingers crossed. If we were left out, it would maybe be a different feel.”

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FOUR BITS: volleyball, soccer, swimming, lax win

1 » No. 3 Florida Gators volleyball (12-1, 5-0 SEC) continued its dominant 2010 season over the weekend with back-to-back home wins against the No. 16 LSU Tigers (13-1, 4-1 SEC) on Friday and Arkansas Razorbacks (9-8, 3-3 SEC) on Sunday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida took down LSU 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18) and swept Arkansas 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-17) with the help of juniors right-side setter Kelly Murphy and outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel. Murphy logged 10 aces and 21 kills combined in the two matches, while Jaeckel bested her with 22 kills (11 per contest). The Gators are now 8-1 against ranked opponents this season.

2 » No. 6 Florida soccer (10-1-1, 4-0 SEC) also kept its winning ways going on Sunday, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels (5-7-1, 1-3 SEC) 3-0 at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville to win their 10th match of the season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine played the full 90 minutes and notched two saves as the Gators scored as the result of an own goal (21’), shot into the near post by senior defender Nicky Kit (74’) and one-touch strike from redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney (90’).

3 » Florida’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the All Florida Invitational over the weekend. In the first-ever instance of the event, the Gators won the men’s and women’s team categories by 259 and 184.5 points, respectively. Senior captain Connor Dwyer won eight men’s events both as an individual – 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle, and member of a team – 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay, 800-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay.

4 » Also in action Saturday was Florida lacrosse (2-0), which began its second fall season in team history with two wins over the Jacksonville Dolphins (23-5) and Rollins Tars (25-8). 2009 star sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns along with junior A Caroline Cochran and sophomore midfielders Caroline Chesterman and Kitty Cullen each scored four goals during the contests with Bruns also posting four assists.

Extra BIT » Every Monday is “Music Monday” on Twitter, but this week that is true for OGGOA as well. Check out the song and music video: “Gator Like Me” by Big Uly.

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Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

Seven former letterwinners, including Gator Greats Mike Peterson (football) and Bob Emrick (men’s basketball) will be inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame 2011 class. The F Club and Gator Boosters, Inc. announced the class on Wednesday, which will receive their honors at the Hall of Fame Banquet on April 8, 2011, in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

According to UF, “inductees are divided into three different categories: Gator Greats, Distinguished Letterwinners and Honorary Letterwinners.” The remainder of the induction class includes Gator Greats Dawn Buth (women’s tennis), Judd Davis (football), Michelle Freeman (women’s track & field), Mimosa McNerney (women’s swimming>, Distinguished Letterwinner Keith Tribble (football), and Honorary Letterwinner Dr. Richard Shaara (team physician).

More about each inductee and their career accomplishments after the jump.
Continue Reading » Peterson, Emrick highlight 2011 Hall of Fame class

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FOUR BITS: Trattou, Gaffney, Lochte, Tennessee

1 » Junior running back Jeff Demps ran rampant over the South Florida Bulls. Senior safety Ahmad Black flew back-and-forth in the secondary making hits an intercepting balls out of the sky. But a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior defensive end Justin Trattou may very well have been the play of the game – or at least the play of his career. “It is definitely up there with my biggest plays,” he told The Gainesville Sun. “It is my first touchdown as a Gator. It’s a great feeling. […] I saw a lot of green in front of me and I was not going to let anyone catch me from behind, that is for sure. I didn’t get caught last year [against South Carolina] either, I tripped over my own guy.” Classmate, linemate and friend Duke Lemmens was just as excited. “Anytime one of us bigger guys gets in the end zone – it is awesome,” Lemmens said. “I got almost as tired running all the way down to celebrate with him as I did the whole game.”

2 » Trading star WR Brandon Marshall, the Denver Broncos had some shuffling to do at the receiver position this offseason. Head coach Josh McDaniels drafted one in the first round but mostly stuck with guys already on the team to fill in the blanks – and that includes former Gators WR Jabar Gaffney, who enters the 2010 season after a career-year in both receptions (54) and receiving yards (732). Scoring a touchdown in his team’s first game of the season last Sunday, Gaffney is feeling at home in Denver and ready to become a big-time producer. “I know what I can do, and my teammates and my coaches, they all have confidence in me,” Gaffney said recently.

3 » Michael Phelps may get the recognition, but as far as the title of best swimmer in the world is concerned, that distinction currently belongs to former Florida student-athlete Ryan Lochte, just ask longtime coach of Phelps, Bob Bowman. “Obviously, Ryan Lochte is the best swimmer in the world this year. No question,” he told the Associated Press. “That will be a huge challenge for Michael going forward..

4 » With the Gators heading to Knoxville, TN, on Saturday, fans of the Tennessee Volunteers used the opportunity to take a shot at Florida by releasing “(352): Time to Die” shirts, making fun of the arrest of redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey this week. While jokes and mockery are fine, especially in the Southeastern Conference, perhaps doing so while referencing a third-degree felony aggravated stalking charge is a bit distasteful, no? This isn’t exactly former guard Lee Humphrey falling of his scooter or a misdemeanor alcohol offense (which we’ll take a look at later).

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TWO BITS: Volleyball splits, soccer wins in OT

1 » Hosting the Nike Volleyball Big Four Classic at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, over the weekend, No. 4 Florida Gators volleyball squared off against two of the best teams in the country – the No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions and No. 5 Texas Longhorns. The Gators (6-1) were able to split their two games, falling 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-14, 25-23) to the Nittany Lions (7-0) but winning 3-2 (25-11, 27-25, 16-25, 20-25, 16-14) against the Longhorns.

In the two matches, junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy posted a total of 27 kills, 37 assists and 20 digs, earning her a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Joining her on the team was senior outside hitter Callie Rivers, who posted 16 kills and 16 digs combined in the two matches. The schedule does not get any easier for Florida, which will take on No. 16 Kentucky to begin Southeastern Conference play on Friday.

2 » Just behind volleyball rankings-wise is No. 6 Gators soccer (6-0), which utilized an overtime victory to top the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles (4-2) 2-1 on Friday at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Tallahassee, FL. Well into the second half, Florida sophomore midfielder/forward Erika Tymrak gave the Gators an early lead with a deflected goal at 62’. Things were looking bleak for FSU until Janie Cayman knocked one through at 89’ just before regulation time expired. However, UF redshirt sophomore MF McKenzie Barney obviously had somewhere important to be, because it only took her 15 seconds into the overtime period to turn a serve from senior defender Nicky Kit into a golden goal for the Gators.

Extra BIT » President Barack Obama may be doing a Gator Chomp on Monday as Florida’s 2009-10 NCAA National Championship-winning men’s track and field and women’s swimming and diving teams will be recognized for their accomplishments at the White House. The Gators will be joined by 31 other NCAA title teams who will have the opportunity to honored by the President on the White House lawn.

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Lochte concludes Pan Pacific with six golds

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and former Florida Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte had a week for the record books, earning six gold medals and the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships over the last few days. The biggest international meet of the season saw the United States team bring home a total of 52 medals, 26 of which were gold and just under 25 percent of which were earned by Lochte.

His six golds came in the 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter individual medley, 400-meter individual medley, 200-meter backstroke, 400-meter free relay and 800-meter free relay. His final gold, the 200-meter individual medley won on Saturday, was completed in 1:54:43 – a meet record and the third-fastest time in the history of the sport.

Winning more golds than anyone else in Irvine, CA, last week, Lochte was named Swimmer of the Meet. He and Florida head swimming coach Gregg Troy, who also led America’s team at the Pan Pacific Championships, set the tone for the U.S. victory. With 489.5 points, America blew out Australia, the second-place finisher (311.5 points).

Photo Credit: USA Swimming

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Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» The University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season officially begins Friday as No. 11 Florida Gators soccer takes on the Miami Hurricanes at 7 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Admission is free, and the match will air live on Sun Sports.

» New England Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez scored his first career professional touchdown on Thursday, catching a four-yard pass from quarterback Tom Brady in the second quarter of the team’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Hernandez, who lead the team with four receptions and 46 yards, had to turn around to complete the reception in the back of the end zone. Also shining for the Patriots on Thursday was running back Fred Taylor (team-high 11 carries for 54 yards and a TD). Linebacker Brandon Spikes racked up three solo tackles, while defensive tackle Gerard Warren added one assisted.

Eight more Gator Bites on Tim Tebow, Major Wright, Cornelius Ingram, Maurkice Pouncey, Joe Haden, Chris Leak, Ryan Lochte and Urban Meyer…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Friday, August 20th

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SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

1 » With most of the players and head coach Urban Meyer making time for the media Thursday, it was offensive coordinator Steve Addazio’s turn to represent the Florida Gators early Friday. He provided a little insight into what is in store this season. “Will you see QB runs? Unequivocally yes from a Wildcat offense,” Addazio said. “Will you see five wides on the field? You know you will. Will you see tight ends and fullback sets? Yes. You’re going to see a lot. We’re not going away from that. It’s just judiciously choosing what styles and plays you’re going to use within those sets.” Addazio also noted that wide receivers redshirt junior Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman Andre Debose can add a lot to the offense. “Rainey brings that whole other dimension in here, as does Debose,” Addazio said. “We have those hybrid guys and we have an interesting dynamic in there to cause some stress.”

2 » Tight ends coach Brian White also leaked some brain droppings about his position players. “What’s evident in the first two days is Jordan Reed and Gerald Christian really improved themselves this summer,” White said. “They did a great job of becoming a better football player. All the work they did with [strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti] and his staff has paid tremendous dividends. They’re very confident. They’re much improved. […] Jordan has had tremendous recall from spring ball. It’s very evident he worked his ass off this summer. He’s a tremendously improved football player and he’s going to be really fun to watch this year. He’s going to do some special things.”

Four more BITS on Nelson, Moss, Wilbur and swimmer Beisel…after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Addazio, White, Nelson, Moss, Beisel

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