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2007 Gator Volleyball
Year In Review

For the University of Florida volleyball team, the 2007 season was one of firsts and lasts.

There were firsts: first time in school history with three 1,000-kill players on the same team, first time with three 1,000-dig players on the roster, first setter to reach 5,000 assists, 1,000 digs or 300 blocks and the first time in the rally scoring era that a player recorded 300 blocks and 300 digs in her career, just to name a few.

Of course, there were lasts, namely the last time around the block for a group of seniors that won 157 matches, including 84 league contests, captured four SEC crowns and set nearly 100 school records during their tenure at UF.

As polarizing as the 2007 season was, there was a constant at the end – an SEC title. The Gators posted a 19-1 record in conference to play win the SEC by four matches, tying an NCAA Division I women’s volleyball record for most consecutive league championships won with their 17th in a row.

All of it – the firsts, the lasts – came, however, with the patented Florida formula: high-powered offense, hard-nosed defense and countless amounts of heart and determination. The Gators set school records for kills per game (17.49), ranking fourth in the nation in that department, and points per game (22.17), while also hustling their way to an average of 3.05 blocks per game that was good for 23rd in the country. When it was all said and done, UF was one of only five Division I teams to rank in the nation’s top 25 in both kills and blocks per game.

Faced with beginning the year on the road for the first time in four years, the Gators responded with a three-game sweep of Illinois State and a four-game victory over Notre Dame to jump start a season-opening 16-match winning streak that tied the 1987 UF squad for the second-best start in school history.

Florida opened its 2007 home slate with the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational from Aug. 31-Sept 1, downing Georgia Southern, North Carolina State and No. 19 Santa Clara in succession. Senior setter Angie McGinnis took home tournament MVP honors, and was joined on the all-tournament team by senior outside hitter Marcie Hampton and sophomore libero/defensive specialist Elyse Cusack. The ball continued to roll with pre-conference wins over Florida State and Utah, the latter coming on the road behind 18 kills from senior Amber McCray, to send the Orange and Blue into the SEC season with an unblemished record for just the 17th time in head coach Mary Wise’s 17 years in Gainesville.

Wins over Georgia and Auburn on the first weekend of SEC play got UF off on the right foot in the league, and sent them into a testing road trip to Mississippi and No. 22 LSU with added momentum. The Gators made quick work of UM on Friday with a 10-block performance that limited the Rebels to -.025 hitting on the night, but LSU came out firing on Sunday. Florida’s seniors stepped up in a big way, as Hampton posted 20 kills and 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season and middle blocker Kisya Killingsworth reeled off a key 4-0 service run late in game four to send the Gators out of Baton Rouge the same way they came in – undefeated.

The next weekend saw Florida hit the road yet again, with similar results, as the Orange and Blue swept Mississippi State on Friday night and took a four-game decision off of Alabama on Sunday. Killingsworth, who had broken the 1,000-kill barrier for her career in the win over LSU, posted four blocks in the defeat of the Crimson Tide to become just the fifth player in school history with 1,000 kills and 300 blocks.

Following its road swing, UF put on a show for the home fans with back-to-back-to-back sweeps of Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina, pushing their record to 16-0 and equaling the second-best start in program history. The victory over UK was an historic one for McGinnis, as she surpassed Heidi Anderson’s 15-year old career assists mark of 4,855 early in the first game. With high spirits but less than 48 hours of rest after their win over the Gamecocks, the Gators took their 18-match road winning streak – tied for the ninth-longest in NCAA history, into Barnhill Arena on the University of Arkansas campus for a Friday night tilt on Oct. 12. Despite out-blocking the Lady ‘Backs, 15.0-11.0, behind 10 from junior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers and winning the digs battle, 84-77, courtesy of Cusack’s 27, UF dropped a five-game thriller to suffer its first loss of the season.

The Arkansas contest, however, was just the first of a three-match road trip for Florida, and the Gators bounced back with victories at Auburn and Georgia the following week. Bowers paced UF to victory on The Plains with a career-high 17 kills, and Hampton roared back with 20 in a three-game sweep of UGA in Athens. Home sweeps of LSU and Mississippi and a three-game defeat of South Carolina on Halloween, during which McGinnis broke the school record for digs by a setter, improved the Gators’ record to 21-1 and led to a rematch with Arkansas, only this time the action was to take place in the O’Connell Center, where Florida hadn’t lost a regular-season SEC match since Nov. 11, 2004.

Revenge was in the air that Sunday afternoon, as McCray and freshman outside hitter Callie Rivers combined for 25 kills and McGinnis dished out 48 assists in a three-game sweep of the Lady ‘Backs. Bowers led the way with five total blocks to propel the team to a total of 10.0 on the day, marking its seventh-straight outing with double-figures in the block column.

Florida next set out for its final SEC road trip of the year, coming back with sweeps of Tennessee and Kentucky, with the win over the Lady Volunteers clinching the Gators’ 17th-straight SEC title, and duplicated that feat at home the following weekend against Alabama and Mississippi State. Nearly 3,000 people turned out to watch UF dispatch the Bulldogs, and stuck around following the match to honor one of the most productive senior classes in program history, as Hampton, Killingsworth, McCray and McGinnis were saluted for their time at UF following the victory. Fans were also fortunate enough to see an unprecedented feat in the win over MSU, as Cusack moved past the 1,000-dig mark for her career faster than any other player in SEC history and teamed up with Hampton and McGinnis to give UF three 1,000-dig players on the same roster for the first time in school history.

After wrapping up the SEC slate, Florida made its way across the country to kick off the holiday season with a pair of matches at the Baden Thanksgiving Classic, hosted by Long Beach State University. The first outing in Long Beach resulted in a victory over Yale behind a 20-kill performance from Hampton, as Rivers chipped in with 17 kills and Killingsworth added a dozen. The following night saw UF turn in one of the gutsiest performances in recent memory against Long Beach State, falling in five games to the 49ers but displaying the heart and courage that has become a trademark of Florida volleyball. Already faced with adversity after dropping a nail-biting game one, the Gators stormed back to win game two by digging 16 balls and holding LBSU to a .000 hitting percentage. UF played, and won, its longest game of the season in the third stanza, putting up 5.5 total blocks and 16 digs to take a 38-36 win, but the victory was bittersweet as Hampton went down near the midway point of the game with a season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury. The Gators continued to battle, and despite dropping game four, staved off several match points in game five before being handed a 20-18 loss.

The team received uplifting news on the way home from southern California when, with eyes glued to the tiny TV screens on the bus back to Gainesville, UF learned that it had been selected to host the opening rounds of the NCAA Championship for the third year in a row. The Gators entered the tournament having advanced past to the regional semifinals in 15 of the last 16 years, and despite the absence of their offensive leader, they were primed and ready to make it 16-of-17.

Florida’s first-round match pitted it against College of Charleston in a matchup that saw the Gators post their 11th-straight sweep in their opening match of the NCAA Championship, defeating the Cougars in straight sets behind a career-high 18 kills from Rivers. UF didn’t have much time to enjoy the win, however, as it was back on the court 24 hours later for a date with No. 23 Oklahoma. The Gators got off to a fast start, chalking up a season-high 8.0 team blocks in the opening game and tacking on another 4.0 in the second to hit the break with a 2-0 lead. The Sooners refused to quit in game three and pushed Florida to the brink, but a late 4-0 service run by freshman Lauren Bledsoe, who turned in a career-high 12 kills on the night, propelled UF to a 36-34 victory and a place among the last 16 teams alive in the nation.

The victory over OU was a milestone moment for McCray, who surpassed the 1,000-kill mark on the evening to take her place alongside classmates Hampton and Killingsworth in the elite club. McCray’s feat also marked the first time in school history that the UF roster had boasted three 1,000-kill players.

The largest crowd ever to watch an NCAA Regional match in Gainesville turned out to cheer on the Gators in their bout with No. 3 Texas in the regional semifinal. After dropping game one, McCray stepped up with seven kills in the second frame to even the match for the Gators after Rivers and Killingsworth teamed up on a block to seal the 31-29 win that sent UF into the locker room on a high note. Texas responded after the intermission and took the next two games to capture the match, weathering a Florida storm the saw McCray and Killingsworth combine for 27 kills in the final match of their collegiate careers.

With all the firsts and all the lasts, it was perhaps the constants – wins, an SEC title, an NCAA regional berth – that stood out for Florida in 2007. All of the first-time accomplishments of the 2007 team will not be supplanted easily, and the lasting memories of one of the most prolific senior classes in program lore will continue to live on. With three starters returning and a five-member freshman class on the way in, the 2008 campaign is also shaping up to be one of more firsts than lasts, but one thing will remain constant – the Gators will continue to play with heart, desire and courage as they embark down the path of another season.

2007 Team Achievements
  • Won 17th-straight SEC regular-season title, tying an NCAA Division I women’s volleyball record for most consecutive conference championships won
  • Made its 17th-consecutive NCAA Championship appearance, and the 18th in school history
  • Advanced to NCAA Championship regional semifinal for 16th time in the last 17 years
  • Hosted an NCAA Regional for the second-straight year and the ninth time in school history; hosted an NCAA Sub-Regional for the third year in a row, and the 15th time in the last 17 seasons
  • Finished the year with a 29-3 record, extending the nation’s longest streak of 25 win seasons to 17 in a row
  • Tied its own SEC record with 19 wins in conference play
  • Had at least two All-Americans for the seventh-straight year and the 11th time under head coach Mary Wise; set a single-season school record with six total All-America honors
  • Had an athlete named SEC Player of the Year for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons
  • Tied a school record with six players named to All-SEC teams, and had at least two players on the first team for the 17th year in a row
  • Placed three players on the All-Region team for the 17th-consecutive year and the eighth since the AVCA started naming an All-South Region squad in 2000
  • Had its first ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American since 2003
  • Placed four players on the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III team, tying for the national lead
  • Finished fourth in the nation in kills per game (17.49), fourth in assists per game (16.28), fifth in hitting percentage (.303), sixth in winning percentage (.906) and 23rd in blocks per game (3.05)
  • Set school records for kills per game (17.49) and points per game (22.17)
  • Led the SEC in hitting percentage (.303), opponent hitting percentage (.148), assists per game (16.28) and kills per game (17.49)
  • Drew an average of 2,674 fans per match, which ranked sixth in the nation and marked the 17th year in a row that UF has finished in the national top 10
  • Played its NCAA regional semifinal match against Texas in front of 4,619 fans – the largest crowd to ever watch an NCAA Regional match in Gainesville
  • Finished the year ranked eighth in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches’ Poll, and didn’t fall out of the top 10 all season; the final ranking marked the Gators’ 13th top-10 finish in the last 17 years and its 17th-straight top-15 finish
  • Had three 1,000-kill players and three 1,000-dig players on the same roster for the first time in school history; had three 300-block players on the same roster for just the second time in school history, and the first time under head coach Mary Wise
  • Ripped off a 16-match winning streak to open the season, tying the 1987 team for the second-best start in school history; UF didn’t suffer its first loss until Oct. 12, marking the second-latest date in school history on which the Gators suffered their initial setback
  • Placed seven players on the SEC Academic Honor Roll
2007 Individual Achievements

Kelsey Bowers

  • All-SEC second team
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III second team
  • Volleyball Magazine Scholar-Athlete of the Month (December 2007)
  • SEC Offensive Player of the Week (10-22)
  • Recorded the 300th block of her career on Nov. 9, becoming just the 17th player in school history, and the seventh non-senior, to reach that mark
  • Ranked second in the SEC with a .361 hitting percentage, and her .402 rating in conference play led the league
  • Ranked seventh in the SEC with an average of 1.31 blocks per game

Elyse Cusack

  • AVCA honorable mention All-American
  • Volleyball Magazine honorable mention All-American
  • Became first libero/defensive specialist in school history to earn All-America honors
  • AVCA All-South Region
  • Campus USA Credit Union Invitational all-tournament team
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Week (9-24, 10-1); became the first player in league history to win the honor in consecutive weeks
  • Finished the year with five SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors for her career, the most in conference history
  • Became the fastest player in UF and SEC history to reach the 1,000-dig mark, and just the second SEC player to do it as a sophomore
  • Concluded the season in the midst of a school-record 35-match streak with a double-figure dig total
  • Her 66 digs in the NCAA Championship tied for the fourth-highest total in program history
  • Her 25 digs against Oklahoma in the second round of the NCAA Championship were the third-most in school history in an NCAA match

Christina Diaz

  • SEC Academic Honor Roll

Marcie Hampton

  • AVCA third-team All-American
  • Volleyball Magazine honorable mention All-American
  • AVCA All-South Region
  • All-SEC first team
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III second team
  • SEC Offensive Player of the Week (10-8)
  • Campus USA Credit Union Invitational all-tournament team
  • Finished her career with a school-record 4,204 attacks, which ranks sixth in SEC history
  • Concluded her career as one of only 12 players in school history to average at least 3.00 kills per game over their collegiate tenure
  • Ranked second in the SEC with an average of 4.49 kills per game
  • Led the SEC with an average of 4.50 kills per game in league matches
  • Her .714 hitting percentage in the home win over South Carolina ranked fifth in the SEC
  • Her 20 kills at Georgia tied for second-most in the SEC in a three-game match
  • Won a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games while playing with the U.S. Women’s National Team

Kristina Johnson

  • SEC Academic Honor Roll

Kisya Killingsworth

  • All-SEC second team
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • SEC Defensive Player of the Week (9-17)
  • Became the 15th player in school history with 1,000 kills on Sept. 23, and the 16th player with 300 blocks on Sept. 30
  • One of just five players in school history with 1,000 kills and 300 blocks in her career
  • Only UF player in the rally scoring era to record 300 blocks and 300 digs in her career
  • Finished third in the SEC with a .356 hitting percentage
  • Ranked eighth in the SEC in blocks per game with an average of 1.25
  • Her .667 hitting percentage at Mississippi State ranked seventh in the SEC

Amber McCray

  • All-SEC first team
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • Second-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American
  • ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III first team
  • SEC Community Service Team
  • NCAA Gainesville Regional all-tournament team
  • Became the 16th UF player to reach 1,000 kills on Nov. 30
  • One of only five players in school history to hit .300 or above in each of her four collegiate seasons
  • Ranked fourth in the SEC in both overall hitting percentage (.351) and hitting percentage in league matches (.362)

Angie McGinnis

  • Second-team AVCA All-American; earned AVCA All-America honors for the third year in a row
  • Volleyball Magazine second-team All-American
  • AVCA All-South Region
  • All-SEC first team; became just the sixth player in school history to earn first-team All-SEC recognition three times, and only the fourth to collect an All-SEC nod in each of her four seasons
  • SEC Player of the Year for the second-straight season, joining Jane Collymore, Aury Cruz, Aycan Gokberk and Jenny Manz as the only players in school history to accomplish the feat
  • SEC Academic Honor Roll
  • ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III second team
  • SEC Offensive Player of the Week (10-29, 11-12)
  • Campus USA Credit Union Invitational MVP
  • Finished her career with 5,784 assists, the most in UF history and the fourth-most in SEC annals
  • One of just five players in school history to hit .300 or better in each of her collegiate seasons
  • Finished her career as the only setter in Florida’s 300-block club
  • Led the SEC and ranked fourth nationally in assists per game with a school-record average of 13.88
  • Ranked ninth in the SEC in overall hitting percentage with a mark of .328; her rating of .337 during SEC play was sixth in the league
  • Her 75 assists against Long Beach State were the most by an SEC player in 2007

Callie Rivers

  • SEC All-Freshman Team

Janine Williams

  • SEC Freshman of the Week (9-4
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