Volleyball team loses 2 to transfer
Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 6:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 6:04 p.m.
The Florida volleyball team was expecting to enter 2010 with little turnover after graduating just two players from last season’s 25-6 squad. In a matter of weeks, those plans have been thrown into a tailspin.
Sophomore Colleen Ward and junior Brynja Rodgers have announced their intent to transfer from UF, which recently graduated seniors Elyse Cusack and Kristina Johnson.
Ward, who is still enrolled in classes at UF, told coach Mary Wise of her decision a week after the semester started.
“She misses home and didn’t feel like she totally fitted in here,” Wise said Thursday. “It was a total shock. We didn’t see it coming and neither did her teammates.”
Ward, a Naperville, Ill. native, was second on the Gators with 334 kills on 836 swings, for a .254 attack percentage last season. She played in all 108 sets on the year and averaged 3.09 kills per set. At the team’s banquet earlier this month, she was given the Gator Power Award and the Gator Serving Award.
“She’s a starter and a player that had a great sophomore year,” Wise said. “You don’t ever want to lose a starter, but we’re excited about the returning talent that we have.”
Wise said she met with Ward on Wednesday and gave the 6-foot-2 outside hitter her full release to talk to other programs. Ward told Wise she is concentrating on the current semester and hasn’t thought about where she wants to continue her career, Wise said.
Rodgers, who transferred to Florida from New Mexico State during her junior year, may be headed back to NMSU but would have to sit out a year if she does.
An Iowa City, Iowa, native, Rodgers made her presence felt shortly after transferring to UF. The setter served the match-winning ace in a thriller against Florida State and was making progress with the team until back spasms limited her time on the court at the end of the year.
Rodgers told Wise over the Christmas break that she didn’t intend to return to Gainesville.
“With Brynja, the scholarship (at Florida) helped because she would have had to pay her way through her junior year at New Mexico State,” Wise said. “She played very well for us, but it wasn’t a surprise that she was leaving.”
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