outside hitter Jane Collymore
(Englewood, Colo.) capped her illustrious career by leading fourth-ranked
and eighth-seeded Florida with 12 kills, but it wasn’t enough to overcome No. 1
Nebraska as the Huskers advanced to the Final Four as the Gators fell 3-0
(26-30, 24-30, 16-30) before an NCAA record crowd of 15,119 at the Qwest
Florida (33-3) saw its season end with
the Gators notching their third 30-win season in the last four years and the
program’s 12th Elite Eight berth in head coach Mary Wise’s 15
seasons. The Huskers (32-1) will advance to the 2005 Final Four next week in San Antonio.
to a great Nebraska
team that played awfully well,” Wise said. “With Nebraska, you’re almost forced to play
perfect. Our team came in and played hard, but it wasn’t enough to win. This
senior class was part of a lot of wins and had a pretty good run for four
sophomore setter Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) and
sophomore opposite hitter Amber McCray (Longview, Texas)
each were named to the Omaha Regional All-Tournament team.
attendance figure topped Friday evening’s session in Omaha as the highest
number of fans to ever watch a collegiate volleyball match.
part of history,” Wise said. “It was a special night for volleyball and it does
so much for our sport.”
led the Gators with 12 kills and added 10 digs in fittingly ending her career
with her 46th double-double. Senior libero Rachel Engel (Littleton, Colo.) closed out her tenure at Florida ranked second in school history in
career digs (1,372). The senior class composed a 132-13 record (.910 winning
percentage) in four seasons and advanced to a pair of Final Fours.
middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth (Deltona, Fla.)
tallied 10 kills on .350 hitting, while McCray added seven kills on .313
opening game was tight with Florida preventing
the Huskers from stringing more than three straight points until Nebraska mounted a 7-2
run in the latter stages in a 30-26 win. Things were close early on with the
Gators creating a four-point advantage on the heels of a 6-1 run that gave them
the lead at 9-6 after a service ace down the line from McGinnis. Florida held the advantage until Nebraska tied the game at 14-14 and then
went on top 16-14. UF responded with a 5-1 run with Collymore providing a pair
of kills and a block assist in the stretch as the Gators moved in front 19-17.
Following an attack error by the Huskers, Florida’s lead was three at 21-18. But Nebraska got its offense
going as the Huskers scored seven of the next nine points with four coming on
kills and a pair on blocks. Following the run, the Huskers led 25-23. The
Gators came within one at 25-24 after a kill from sophomore outside hitter
Marcie Hampton (Gainesville,
Fla.) and at 26-25 after a Killingsworth
kill on the slide. But Nebraska
closed out the game by tallying four of the final five points. Killingsworth and Collymore each notched four
kills to lead Florida, while sophomore middle
blocker Kari Klinkenborg (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Collymore each had three blocks.
10-0 run midway through game two in which the Gators took the lead, Nebraska was able to
retake control in a 30-24 win. After the Huskers had built an early advantage
the Gators came back within a pair at 9-7 after a Nebraska service error. But the Huskers then
went on a 6-1 run in boosting their lead to seven at 15-8. The Gators didn’t
relent and behind the serve of Engel,
Florida mounted a 10-0 run.
Killingsworth led the way with a pair of blocks and after a kill down the middle,
the Gators were in front 18-15. Nebraska
fought back with the next four points in regaining the advantage at 19-18. Florida tied the game at 19-19, 20-20 and 21-21 after a
Collymore kill from the left side, but Nebraska
notched the next six points to move on top 27-21 and effectively end the game.
Collymore paced UF with six kills in the game with Killingsworth adding five.
Huskers used an 8-1 run midway through the third game in eventually sealing the
match with a 30-16 win. The Gators started strong in scoring the first three
points on a kill by Collymore, an ace by freshman defensive specialist Christina Diaz (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
and a kill by Klinkenborg. Nebraska responded
with four consecutive points, but UF didn’t go away as the teams sided out
until the Gators narrowed the gap to one after a Nebraska double-hit at 9-8. But the Huskers
posted five straight points and 12 of the next 14 in forging ahead 21-10 before
ending the match at 30-16. Collymore paced UF with four kills in the game.
loss to top-ranked Nebraska, Florida’s season has ended with a loss to
the eventual national champion or No. 1 team in four consecutive years.
Florida will return 10 of its 12 players
in 2006 as the Gators were one of the youngest teams in the nation in 2005 with
eight of 12 players being underclassmen.