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Thursday, March 30, 2023

UF coach Mary Wise expected tough challenges from Georgia and Kentucky this season, but keeping all of her players on the court has been her toughest task of late.

The Gators' middle blockers have missed their share of practice and playing time this season, and freshman outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel was nowhere to be found during Sunday's sweep of Arkansas.

She came down with the flu on Friday night, and Wise didn't want to take the chance of other players catching it.

Jaeckel is expected back when practice resumes today, and her coach said she was proud of the team for playing "one soldier down."

As for the immunization process:

"We're going to get our money back on the flu shot," she said.

More Weekly Awards

The Gators took home two more Southeastern Conference awards on Monday.

Junior libero Elyse Cusack was named Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, totaling 39 digs and averaging 6.5 digs per set in wins against Mississippi and Arkansas.

Cusack also broke the UF career dig record with her sixth dig on Friday, an honor her teammates couldn't say enough about.

"Elyse is a great competitor, she earned this record and really deserves it," senior middle blocker Kelsey Bowers said. "As a blocker, it's great to know that if I miss a block, I have Elyse behind me. I know that I just have to adjust and that she is going to make the dig."

Outside hitter Colleen Ward earned Freshman of the Week honors, also for the second time this season.

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Ward joined Jaeckel and Kelly Murphy in becoming yet another UF freshman to win the award twice this year.

She led the team with a .371 hitting percentage over the two weekend matches while chipping in 2.67 kills and 1.33 digs per set.

"Her name is going to be all over the record books by the time her career is done here," Wise said of Ward.

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