Homegrown Gators Earn Volleyball Honors
Gator volleyball senior middle blocker Kelsey BowersÂ and junior libero Elyse Cusack each were selected to the 2008 Preseason All-Southeastern Conference team on Thursday. Bowers, 6-foot-2, was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2007, finishing second in the league in hitting percentage with a .361 clip. In conference matches only, she was first in the SEC with a .402 hitting percentage.Â The former Gainesville high star &Â TV20 scholar/athlete of the year in 2004Â hit .400 or better in 13 matches, including five of her last eight. Bowers led or tied for the team lead in blocks on 16 occasions last season.
Cusack, a former P.K. Yonge star, is one of only two defensive players named to the preseason All-SEC team, is coming off a stellar sophomore campaign that saw her named an honorable mention All-America selection by both the American Volleyball Coaches Association and Volleyball Magazine. She became the first libero in school history to earn All-America honors. She was a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week honoree, making her the first player in league history to accomplish that feat in back-to-back weeks. Cusack became the fastest player (56 matches) in both SEC and school history to reach the 1,000-dig mark and became just the second player in league history to do so as a sophomore. She was the only Gator in 2007 to play in each of the team's 109 games and finished the year ranked 10th all-time on the UF career digs list with 1,122. Cusack was the 2006 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and is a two-time AVCA All-South Region honoree. Her 587 digs a year ago marked the second most in a single-season in school history. A total of nine athletes were selected for the honors. The coaches preseason All-SEC team consists of a minimum of seven players. Each SEC head volleyball coach voted for seven players and no ties were broken. LSU led all schools with three selections, followed by the Gators with two.
The Gators begin their 2008 season by hosting the Aquafina Invitational in the O'Connell Center. Florida's first match is set for 7 p.m. on August 29 when the Gators play host to UAB.
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