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Thursday, April 25, 2024

All Janine Williams wanted was a chance to play.

She decided that opportunity wasn't going to come at UF.

In August, the former UF outside hitter transferred to Central Florida.

Williams, whose father Keith played football for the Gators, first talked to UF coach Mary Wise about a possible transfer last spring.

"Her decision, she felt, was the best for her in terms of playing time," Wise said.

Williams, a former high school All-American from Gainesville's P.K. Yonge, signed to play for the Gators along with teammate Elyse Cusack.

But while Cusack's career took her onto the court and into the record books, Williams was forced to watch from the sideline.

She redshirted as a freshman in 2006 after suffering a knee injury.

Williams played sparingly the following year but was one of the team's strongest performers off the bench.

She racked up 72 kills and 13 service aces in limited time.

Williams has hit the ground running since her arrival in Orlando.

She has quickly worked her way into the starting rotation and is producing the numbers she expected to coming out of high school.

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Through the Knights' first 14 games, Williams is second on the team in kills (170) and averaging more than three per set - success that doesn't surprise Wise.

"We're hoping that she's the conference player of the year and that she continues to have a great career," Wise said.

Regardless, she will have a team full of friends back in Gainesville cheering for her.

"The players on the team are still very close to her. She has support here," Wise said.

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