Gators Volleyball Season Ends as Illinois Wins in Four Sets
The Florida Gators have been playing their best volleyball of the season. It's too bad a few untimely mistakes crept in the NCAA Volleyball Regional Final against Illinois. Florida watched former Gator and Illinois outside hitter Colleen Ward carry her team to a four-set victory (25-22, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20) against the Orange and Blue.
The Gators held a lead midway through the first set, only to see service errors and attack errors derail any chance of a first-set steal. Florida battled back in a hard-fought second set, with senior Kristy Jaeckel getting two back-to-back kills, 19 kills on the evening, for a 25-23 victory. That tied it up at one set apiece going into the break. The Gators came out flat in the third set, getting down early thanks to Colleen Ward and her eight kills. She would finish with a match-high 23 on the night. Finally, with their backs against the wall, the Gators battled back from a three-point deficit in the fourth, but were never able to put a consistent rally of points together. Senior Kelly Murphy recorded her 30th career triple-double with 13 kills, 21 assists, and a match-high 17 digs in the loss. Ward was named Regional MVP, while Jaeckel and Murphy joined Ward on the Gainesville Regional All-Region team.
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