Thursday April 4, 2013Gators to See Familiar Faces in Spring Action Saturday
When the 2012 SEC Champion Florida volleyball team looks across the net Saturday in the Lemerand Center, they will be greeted with familiar faces. Longtime Florida assistant coach Nick Cheronis is now the head coach of the Florida WAVE, the women’s professional volleyball team in the Florida Region of USA Volleyball. Joining Cheronis on the bench is AVCA All-America honorable mention selection and former Gator great Michelle Chatman, who was a member of Florida’s 2002 and 2003 Final Four teams.
Cheronis was a constant figure on the Gator bench, serving as an assistant coach for the Gators from 1992-95 before being promoted to associate head coach in 1996, a role he held through the 2009 season. In his time at Florida, Cheronis was a part of 18 SEC Championship teams and all seven of Florida’s Final Four appearances.
Chatman was a four-year letterwinner while a member of the Gators' squad and was named an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American Honorable Mention selection as a middle blocker following her 2004 season. Chatman earned her first All-America honor of her career after a senior season that saw her post the ninth-best single-season hitting percentage in UF history (.393) at the time. Chatman also garnered AVCA East Region accolades in 2002.
During her four seasons as a Gator, the Orange and Blue posted a 126-10 overall record and made four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including the NCAA Final Four in 2002 and the national championship match in 2003.
There are also four former Gator greats on the training roster, including Kristy Jaeckel, Benavia Jenkins, Kisya Killingsworth and Kelly Murphy. Both Jaeckel and Murphy are expected to join Florida WAVE when they make their run at the Professional Volleyball League Championships, May 24-27 in Louisville, Ky. Also on the horizon for Florida WAVE is the PVL Tournament of Champions in Dallas, Texas.
Jaeckel is currently enjoying a full season overseas with Nantes Volley in Nantes, France. Murphy is competing in Puerto Rico with Vaqueras de Bayamon. Jenkins recently finished her season with Volley Köniz in Switzerland, taking home the bronze medal in the Swiss League finals.
The Gators and Florida WAVE face off in the Lemerand Center at 3 p.m. ET, Saturday, April 6. In the final weekend of spring competition, Florida travels to Coral Gables to face the Miami Hurricanes at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Saturday, April 13. Miami saw their season end in the O’Connell Center a year ago, falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to the College of Charleston. The Hurricanes finished 2012 as the ACC runner-up with a 25-6 overall record, receiving votes in the final AVCA poll of 2012.
For all of the latest information on Florida volleyball, please log on to www.gatorzone.com/volleyball or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida volleyball on Twitter at @GatorZoneVB or www.twitter.com/GatorZoneVB and Coach Mary Wise on Twitter at @GatorMary or www.twitter.com/GatorMary. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.