Gainesville, FL - Senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) was named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I National Player of the Week for her outstanding performances against SEC foes Auburn and Georgia, it was announced Tuesday by the Lexington, Ky., based organization.
This is Jaeckel's first national weekly honor and she is the only outside hitter in Florida history to ever receive the honor. Jaeckel also makes the history books as she and fellow senior Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) became the second Florida teammates to receive the recognition in the same season, as former Gator greats Jenny Manz and Heather Wright earned the honors during the 1998 season.
Jaeckel and Murphy also become just the fourth set of teammates in the last decade to be named AVCA Division I National Player of the Week in the same season, as Penn State (2007), Hawaii (2002) and Nebraska (2002) have also had two players honored in a single season since 2001. Florida and Nebraska are the only programs in the history of the AVCA to have that occurrence twice, as the AVCA Division I National Player of the Week honor dates back to the beginning of the 1993 season.
The national recognition comes one day after Jaeckel was named the Southeastern Conference's Offensive Player of the Week. Jaeckel has had a banner senior year thus far, being named to the All-Tournament Team in all three tournaments in which the Gators participated. She is a three-time All-SEC selection, as she was named to the All-Freshman Team in 2008, First Team in 2009 and Second Team in 2010. She was also named an AVCA Honorable Mention All-America last year.
Jaeckel had her best weekend in a Gator uniform against the Tigers and the Bulldogs, averaging 6.08 points, 4.83 kills and 1.83 blocks per set, contributing to Florida's 3-set sweeps over Auburn and Georgia. Jaeckel totaled 29 kills, 12 blocks, four digs and two service aces on the weekend. In the Gators' matchup against Auburn, Jaeckel led all hitters with 15 kills, operating at a .400 clip for what was originally a season-high hitting percentage. She also contributed five blocks against the Tigers.
The Littleton, Colo. native then had one of her best performances at Florida, posting 14 kills on 25 swings and only one error for a season-high hitting percentage of .520 against Georgia. Jaeckel registered six blocks on the afternoon, also a season high. In the third set alone, Jaeckel notched eight of her 14 kills against the Bulldogs.
Jaeckel's stellar performance against Georgia gave the Gators their highest offensive output since a 3-set sweep of South Carolina State in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, as well as their highest single-set hitting percentage in program history (Set 2: 18-0-25 for .720). The senior All-American's offensive spark put the Gators on top of the conference in hitting percentage with a .301 hitting clip and the senior is sixth in the SEC in kills per set and points per set with 3.44 and 4.11, respectively.
Florida returns to action on Friday, October 7th when the No. 13 Gators take on the Arkansas Razorbacks at 7 p.m. The Gators will then face the LSU Tigers on Sunday, October 9th at 1:30 p.m. on Sun Sports. Larry Vettel will serve as the play-by-play analyst while former Gator All-SEC setter Missy Whittemore will provide color commentary. As always, Gator fans can also listen live with longtime play-by-play announcer Tom Collett on the call, as Florida's matchup with Arkansas is on Sportsradio 850 and the Gators' Sunday match against LSU will air live on Country 103.7 The Gator.
The University of Florida is home to the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Regional. To order 2011 regular season and NCAA Regional tickets, log on to http://www.GatorZone.com/tickets.