When the UF volleyball team takes the court Sunday for its last home match of the regular season, the Gators might have a hard time keeping it together.
That?s because UF will hold a post-match ceremony to say goodbye to seniors Marcie Hampton, Kisya Killingsworth, Amber McCray and Angie McGinnis, whose names litter the school?s record book.
BAny one of those four could be the poster child for our program, and you would stand here and be so proud of it,C Coach Mary Wise said.
They?ll wrap up their home regular-season careers when the No. 7 Gators (24-1, 17-1 Southeastern Conference) play tonight at 7 against Alabama (15-12, 12-6 SEC) and then Sunday against Mississippi State (12-15, 7-11) at 1:30 p.m.
BIt?s crazy, because I remember my freshman year watching the four seniors go, and it was like, 'Wow, that day is so far away for me,?C fifth-year senior Amber McCray said. BIt?s amazing just how quickly time passed, and that day is here.C
Now that she?ll be playing in her last matches, she has mixed emotions.
BIt?s a joyous day, but it?s sad, too, because you love playing in the O?Dome, and I?m definitely going to miss it,C McCray said.
During her career, she has won five SEC championships and was a member of the team that played in the 2003 national semifinals, but what she?ll remember most is her teammates.
BI got a chance to play with three other amazing players, amazing women, and just being able to reflect on our careers that we?ve had here, I think is a huge deal for us and everyone else,C McCray said. BYou can?t explain it. It?s a bond like no other and I?m happy to be a part of it.C
Hampton has been described as the face of UF volleyball, starting strong by making SEC All-Freshman team in 2004 and working her way into the record books in four years.
Killingsworth has been a force in her four years here, as well, and made the All-SEC first team in 2005.
McGinnis earned a starting role in her first season, acquired the most assists in UF history by a setter and took home SEC Player of the Year honors last season.
Put all that together, and you have one of the best senior classes in Gators history.
Libero Elyse Cusack, a sophomore, knows she?ll cry when the seniors are saying their goodbyes to the O?Connell Center crowd.
BThis senior class has been amazing,C Cusack said. BThey?re all great people, they?re great teammates, and I?m going to miss each of them.C