Sunday, November 20, 2005
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The Tide’s magical run through the Southeastern Conference Tournament ended in the championship match Sunday afternoon in the CAVE with a 3-0 loss to fourth ranked Florida. Alabama was playing in their first SEC Tournament final since volleyball returned to the Capstone in 1989.
As the sixth seed in the tournament, Alabama faced an uphill battle all weekend but upset third seeded LSU and second seed, and 25th ranked Tennessee to face the SEC’s perennial powerhouse, Florida.
“We put ourselves in a position that no other team in the modern era of Alabama volleyball has been in,” Alabama head coach Judy Green said. “It’s a good building block to get us to the next step in the future. The road to get here was absolutely unbelievable. We have to be proud at this point in time and I couldn’t be more proud of how we played from Friday to today.”
The Gators, who were making their 15th straight championship match appearance, won their 12th SEC Tournament and improved to 28-2 overall. The Tide fell to 23-9 overall, just one win shy of tying UA’s modern era record for wins in a season.
Game one was close throughout with nine tie scores. However, the Gators took control following a timeout at the 18-18 mark and went on to take the game 30-25. Florida took the second game 30-25 as well. UF kept Alabama off balance in the third game, taking the lead at the 4-4 mark and never looking back to eng the match with a 30-17 game three win.
Bridget Fuentez led the Tide in kills for the day with eight and finished the tournament with 32 kills and 25 digs to earn all-tournament team honors. Senior libero Jessica Yearout was also named to the all-tournament team for the Tide after finishing the match with 12 digs and 47 total digs over the three day event.
Jane Collymore was named MVP for the tournament and finished the match with 13 kills. The two-time All-America had 55 kills in the Gator's three matches. Kisya Killingsworh and Angie McGinnis also earned all tournament honors for averaging 4.55 kills per game and 13.48 assists per game respectively.
Other members of the all-tournament team were Amy Allison from Arkansas and Tennessee’s Julie Knytych.
The Tide will wrap up the regular season Wednesday night in Muncie, Ind. against Ball State at 7:00. Live stats for the match can be seen at http://www.rolltide.com/. The Tide will then await to here their postseason fate next Sunday.
2005 SEC All-Tournament Team
Bridget Fuentez, Alabama
Jessica Yearout, Alabama
Angie McGinnis, Florida
Kisya Killingsworth, Florida
Amy Allison, Arkansas
Julie Knytych, Tennessee
Jane Collymore, Florida - MVP