Volleyball Run in Jeopardy

It was Ben Franklin who coined the phrase, "the only things certain in life are death and taxes." In recent years we've been able to add Florida winning the SEC Volleyball Championship to the list of life's certainties. The Gators have brought home in incredible 17 straight conference trophies under Mary Wise, but that string is in more jeopardy than ever before.

Last weekend's loss at Georgia dropped Florida (17-2) into a tie for first in the SEC with the surprising Kentucky Wildcats. Both teams are 11-1 in league play with eight matches remaining in the regular season. What puts the Gators at even greater risk is that Wise's squad has to face Kentucky in Lexington in two weeks. That's part of a road trip that also includes a tough match at Tennessee on Friday night (11/14) before the Sunday showdown.

This weekend offers Florida a little bit of a break. The Gators host Ole Miss and Alabama this weekend while Kentucky has tougher match ups with LSU and Georgia who really battled the Gators last week with both matches going five sets.

Murphy's Law ----- Freshman Kelly Murphy was ranked the No. 1 prospect a year ago and the rookie from Illinois has lived up to even that lofty billing. Murphy leads the Gators in kills (230), kills per set (3.29) and attack percentage (.382) even though she's only an attacker half the time. The other half she's Florida's top setter at 5.64 assists per set and a solid defender with 1.63 digs. Her attack percentage is the second best in the SEC, which is unusual for an outside hitter and unheard of for a freshman.

Murphy is also second on the team in service aces (16) and is improving as a blocker (.42). For any player to stand out in that many categories would be remarkable. For a freshman to do it makes her a strong candidate to be the National Freshman of the Year.

If Murphy can get enough help from her teammates, the Gators may just make it 18 straight SEC titles. And a rookie shall lead the way.


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