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2004 Gator Volleyball
Year In Review

What happens when a team loses its all-time leader in kills, its all-time leader in blocks and its only libero ever in a single season?

If you're the University of Florida volleyball program, the answer is this: You keep chugging right along. The Gators did, in fact, lose all of the aforementioned players from their 2003 national runner-up team. But that didn't stop UF from making its 14th straight NCAA Championship appearance in 2004, claiming its 14th straight Southeastern Conference regular season title, finishing in the top 15 of the AVCA Coaches Poll for the 14th straight year and boasting multiple All-Americans for the eighth time in head coach Mary Wise's tenure at Florida.

All that from a team comprised of a majority of underclassmen. Florida entered the 2004 season having lost a higher percentage of points, kills and blocks than nearly every other preseason top 10 team. But the Gators still managed to break the NCAA records for consecutive regular season conference matches won (121) and consecutive overall conference matches won (145). The Gators also claimed the program's 600th win in 2004, while Wise earned her 450th victory as a Gator. Florida also finished in the top 10 in attendance in the nation for the 14th straight year.

In typical fashion, the season started off with a win as the Gators made short work of South Florida in a 3-0 win at home on Sept. 1. The Gators improved their record to 62-2 against teams from Florida under Wise with the Gators sporting an unusual look as each of Florida's four freshmen saw playing time in the match.

The Gators' season took another unusual turn when hurricanes began disrupting Florida's schedule. Moments after Florida's Wednesday night contest with South Florida, it was determined that the Gator Invitational, scheduled for the following Friday and Saturday, was canceled due to an impending hurricane. In a span of less than 24 hours, the Gator team hopped on a bus to Atlanta, then flew to Chicago for the NU Labor Day Invite at Northwestern - just the beginning of what would turn out to be an 11-day road trek through the Midwest.

At Northwestern's tournament, the Gators had little trouble in disposing of Bowling Green, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and Northwestern - all by 3-0 scores. With the weather situation not improving in Florida, the Gators were forced to remain in the region before bussing up to Minneapolis to play in the Diet Coke Classic Sept. 9-11 where Florida encountered three preseason top 25 teams.

The Gators disposed of No. 15 Kansas State in the opening match 3-2 - Florida's first five-game match since 2002. In the second match of the event, the Gators took down Northern Iowa 3-1 as junior Rachel Engel finished one dig shy of the school record with 33.

Florida then battled eventual national runner-up and fifth-ranked Minnesota in the last match with the Gophers sneaking away with a 3-2 win to snap the Gators' 34-match regular season winning streak. The contest marked the first of Florida's nine television appearances on the season and junior Jane Collymore came to play as she finished with a career-high 28 kills.

The Gators rebounded with a 3-1 win at Florida State in handing the Seminoles their 13th straight loss at the hands of Florida. Florida improved its record to 7-1 on the year in its second television appearance.

Mother nature again struck the Gators as the Hilton Volleyball Classic was shorted to just one match between Florida and Clemson. The Gators encountered a bit of trouble, but put the Tigers away 3-0 in winning their 46th straight match at home.

Florida opened up SEC play by knocking off Arkansas in Fayetteville to set the NCAA record in winning the Gators' 107th straight conference contest. Collymore led the way with 22 kills, while Engel added 24 digs in a 3-1 victory.

The road swing was capped with the Gators' third televised match of the season in Baton Rouge, La., against LSU - a 3-0 Florida win that improved the Gators' record to 10-1.

No. 18 Texas came into the O'Connell Center to re-ignite a storied rivalry and the eventual Elite Eight team came away with a 3-1 win on the Gators' home court. The Wednesday evening match marked the first day that Sunshine Network's Under the Lights camera crew began documenting Florida with the goal of finding out what life as a member of the Gator volleyball team was like. The crew remained in a behind-the-scenes capacity for the next six days - capturing the essence of being a member of one of the top programs in the country before compiling everything into a one-hour show that aired a few weeks later.

Florida rebounded with a solid 3-0 thumping of Auburn in which freshman Marcie Hampton finished with just one attack error in 26 swings with 14 kills. Florida closed out the homestand with a 3-0 win against Alabama as Gator fans again packed the O'Connell center with more than 2,000 on hand to watch.

The Sunshine crew's final evening with the Gators was a dandy as Florida traveled to Georgia and faced a scrappy Bulldog squad. The Gators eventually duked out a 3-1 win in defeating Georgia for the 35th straight time as Hampton set a career high with 20 kills with Engel adding 30 digs and freshman Angie McGinnis chipping in with 56 assists and 13 digs. Florida returned home and then traveled to Lexington, Ky., and knocked off the Wildcats for the 30th consecutive time to improve to 14-2 and 6-0 in the SEC.

Gator fans stormed the O'Connell Center in Florida's next match as the second-best crowd in school history (6,311) witnessed a 3-0 demolishing of LSU. The Gators then defeated Arkansas 3-1 in their sixth televised match of the season as senior Sherri Williams finished with 13 kills and nine total blocks.

Florida faced its toughest SEC matchup in several years when the Gators made their way to Knoxville to battle No. 17 Tennessee. Florida fought off a pair of game points in the second game after dropping the first and came up with a 34-32 win in game two before claiming the final two for a 3-1 win. The Gators finished with 21 total blocks with Williams picking up 10 on her own and senior Michelle Chatman chiming in with nine.

Three more wins on the road followed as Florida defeated South Carolina, Ole Miss and Mississippi State by scores of 3-0 in improving to 20-2 overall and 12-0 in the SEC. The Gators returned home where they played their next seven matches with the first a 3-0 win against Kentucky on Nov. 5 in front of a boisterous Gator crowd.

Florida then defeated Georgia for the 36th straight time as Hampton finished with 16 kills and provided several critical serves down the stretch in a tight 3-0 victory. The Gators then beat South Carolina 3-0 to claim a share of their 14th consecutive SEC regular season title and extend their NCAA records to 145 straight regular season conference wins and 121 consecutive conference wins overall.

In the final regular season match, No. 15 Tennessee came to Gainesville and escaped with a 3-2 win, but the Gators still earned the No. 1 seed in the SEC Tournament, which was played the following weekend in Gainesville.

Florida opened the tournament with a 3-0 stomping of South Carolina before facing No. 5 seed Georgia in a hard-fought semifinal match. The Bulldogs came out aggressive and took the first two games. Florida fought off three match points in the third game and was down 10-4 in the decisive fifth game, but pulled out a thrilling victory. Williams notched a career-high 22 kills with Collymore adding 28. McGinnis ended with a career-high 61 assists and 22 digs.

The win set up a rematch from the previous week as the Gators took on No. 12 Tennessee in the title match in Florida's eighth television appearance of the season. The Lady Vols were up to the task and knocked off the Gators in another epic five-game match.

As usual, the Gators left Gainesville during the Thanksgiving holiday and became aquatinted with New York City as Florida played in the St. John's Classic. The Gators had little trouble in a 3-0 win against St. John's in the opening match as Florida hit a season-best .458 during the contest. The Gators had trouble with NCAA Championship participant Towson in the tournament title match, but Florida won 3-2 as Williams was named the tournament MVP with Collymore also being selected to the all-tournament squad.

For the first time in 14 seasons, Florida failed to host an NCAA Championship match as the Gators were sent packing to Tallahassee to face No. 22 Florida A&M in the first round. Florida proved up to the challenge as the easily took care of the Rattlers - who had defeated Nebraska in Lincoln earlier in the season - by a 3-0 score. The win improved Wise to 39-13 all-time in NCAA play as Collymore posted 23 kills with McGinnis adding 41 assists, six kills and six digs in front of a rowdy Rattlers crowd.

Two days later, Florida faced No. 6 Stanford in the second round. It marked just the second time in school history that the Gators battled a ranked opponent in the second round and Florida came up just shy as the Cardinal eked out a 3-2 win before going on to win the national championship.

It was a difficult ending to an improbable and crazy season, but the Gators gave Stanford its toughest challenge in the NCAA Championship - a sure sign that Florida's relatively inexperienced squad was ready for bigger and better things in 2005.

2004 Team Achievements

  • Florida made its 14th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance and the 15th in school history
  • Florida won a share of its 14th straight SEC regular season title
  • Florida finished in the top 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the 14th straight season
  • Florida had at least one All-American for the 14th straight season
  • Florida's Jane Collymore was named the SEC Player of the Year (10th straight year a Gator has won the award)
  • Florida placed three players on the All-SEC First Team (10th straight year Florida has done so)
  • 6,311 fans watched Florida's match in the O'Connell Center vs. LSU (second-most in school history)
  • Florida finished seventh in the nation with an average attendance of 2,272 per match
  • Florida finished 18th in the nation in hitting percentage at .277
  • Florida ran its streak of consecutive SEC home wins to 109
  • Florida ran its streak of consecutive SEC road wins to 68, which is still an active streak
  • Florida captured the 600th win in program history
  • Head coach Mary Wise picked up the 450th win of her career at Florida
  • Florida ran its streak of consecutive appearances in the AVCA Coaches Poll Top 10 to 54
  • Florida ran its streak of consecutive home wins to 48



2004 Individual Honors

  • Michelle Chatman
    • AVCA Honorable Mention All-American
    • AVCA All-South Region team
    • First Team All-SEC
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Jane Collymore
    • AVCA Third Team All-American
    • Volleyball Magazine Honorable Mention All-American
    • AVCA All-South Region team
    • SEC Player of the Year
    • First Team All-SEC
    • SEC All-Tournament team
    • Diet Coke Classic All-Tournament team
    • St. John's Classic All-Tournament team
    • SEC Player of the Week (Oct. 18, Nov. 1)
    • SEC Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 11)
  • Rhian Davis
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Stefanie Douglas
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Rachel Engel
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Marcie Hampton
    • SEC All-Freshman teamAmber McCray
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Angie McGinnis
    • SEC Freshman of the Year
    • Second Team All-SEC
    • SEC All-Freshman team
  • Lauren Moscovic
    • ESPN Academic All-District III (second team)
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Sherri Williams
    • AVCA Honorable Mention All-American
    • AVCA All-South Region team
    • First Team All-SEC
    • SEC All-Tournament team
    • Diet Coke Classic All-Tournament team
    • St. John's Classic All-Tournament team (MVP)
  • Taylor Williams
    • SEC GoodWorks team
    • SEC Academic Honor Roll

2004 Records Broken (School records unless noted)
Team

  • Set NCAA record for consecutive conference wins in regular season (145) and overall (121)

Individual

  • Jane Collymore
    • 91 attempts in a match vs. Georgia 11/20/04
    • 1,559 attempts in a season
  • Rachel Engel
    • 510 digs in a season
    • 4.25 digs per game
  • Marcie Hampton
    • 354 digs by a freshman
    • 1,056 attempts by a freshman
  • Angie McGinnis
    • 11.03 assists per game by a freshman






In the Top 10 in 2004
Team

  • 38 block assists in a match vs. Tennessee 11/21/04 (T2nd)
  • 38 block assists in a match vs. Tennessee 10/22/04 (T2nd)
  • 257 attempts in a match vs. Georgia 11/20/04 (3rd)
  • 2,056 digs in a season (4th)
  • 111 digs in a match vs. Tennessee 11/21/04 (4th)
  • .373 hitting percentage in a NCAA match vs. Florida A&M (5th)
  • 4,734 attempts in a season (7th)
  • 1,760 assists in a season (7th)
  • 519 block assists in a season (9th)
  • 1,959 kills in the season (10th)

Individual

  • Michelle Chatman
    • 11 block assists in a match vs. Tennessee 11/21/04 (T1st)
    • .393 hitting percentage as a senior (4th)
    • 12 total blocks in a match vs. Tennessee 11/21/04 (T5th)
    • 1.12 blocks per game as a senior (8th)
    • .393 hitting percentage in a season (9th)
    • 113 block assists as a senior (9th)
    • 134 total blocks as a senior (9th)
    • .393 hitting percentage (11th nationally)
  • Jane Collymore
    • 1,559 attempts in a season (1st)
    • 1,559 attempts as a junior (1st)
    • 604 kills as a junior (1st)
    • 5.03 kills per game as a junior (1st)
    • 707 points as a junior (1st)
    • 5.89 points per game as a junior (1st)
    • 91 attempts in a match vs. Georgia 11/20/04 (1st)
    • 604 kills in a season (2nd)
    • 5.03 kills per game in a season (2nd)
    • 707 points in a season (2nd)
    • 86 attempts in a match vs. Minnesota 9/11/04 (2nd)
    • 57 service aces as a junior (3rd)
    • .47 service aces per game as a junior (3rd)
    • 5.89 points per game in a season (3rd)
    • 67 attempts in a NCAA match vs. Stanford 12/4/04 (4th)
    • .38 service aces per game in a career (T6th)
    • 3.50 kills per game in career (7th)
    • 4.19 points per game in a career (8th)
    • 20 block solos by a junior (T8th)
    • 1,094 kills in a career (9th)
    • 2,711 attempts in a career (9th)
    • 57 aces in a season (9th)
    • 120 service aces in a career (10th)
    • 1,311 points in a career (10th)
    • 5.03 kills per game (22nd nationally)
  • Rachel Engel
    • 510 digs in the season (1st)
    • 510 digs as a junior (1st)
    • 4.25 digs per game in a season (1st)
    • 4.25 digs per game as a junior (1st)
    • 33 digs in a match vs. Northern Iowa 9/10/04 (2nd)
    • 32 digs in a match vs. Georgia 11/20/04 (3rd)
    • 2.52 digs per game in a career (10th)
    • 1.02 assists per game in a career (10th)
  • Marcie Hampton
    • 354 digs by a freshman (1st)
    • 1,056 attacks as a freshman (1st)
    • 357 kills as a freshman (T1st)
    • 2.97 kills per game as a freshman (3rd)
    • 2.95 digs per game as a freshman (3rd)
    • 403.5 points as a freshman (3rd)
    • 120 games played as a freshman (T3rd)
    • 3.36 points per game as a freshman (4th)
    • 22 digs in a NCAA match vs. Stanford 12/4/04 (5th)
    • .240 hitting percentage as a freshman (7th)
  • Angie McGinnis
    • 11.03 assists per game by a freshman (1st)
    • 1,269 assists by a freshman (2nd)
    • 2.30 digs per game as a freshman (6th)
    • 115 games played as a freshman (T6th)
    • 90 block assists as a freshman (7th)
    • 264 digs as a freshman (8th)
    • 96 total blocks as a freshman (8th)
    • .83 blocks per game as a freshman (T8th)
    • 1,269 assists in a career (9th)
  • Lauren Moscovic
    • 7.48 assists per game in a career (5th)
    • 3,306 assists in a career (5th)
    • 992 digs in a career (7th)
    • 303 assists as a senior (8th)
    • 442 games played in a career (T8th)
  • Sherri Williams
    • .410 hitting percentage in a career (2nd)
    • 144 block assists as a senior (3rd)
    • 163 total blocks as a senior (4th)
    • 1.36 total blocks per game as a senior (4th)
    • 144 block assists in a season (5th)
    • .393 hitting percentage as a senior (6th)
    • 355 total blocks in a career (8th)
    • 163 total blocks in a season (8th)
    • 299 block assists in a career (9th)
    • 56 block solos in a career (9th)
    • 1.12 total blocks per game in a career (9th)
    • 1.36 total blocks per game in a season (10th)
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