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Former UK volleyball star dies at 24

Jenni Casper, the record-setting former University of Kentucky volleyball player injured in a car accident early Saturday, has died.

Casper, 24, was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. Sunday by UK Hospital staff members.

She had been critically injured at 1:43 a.m. Saturday, when, according to police, she was driving on Chinoe Road and apparently lost control of her car negotiating a curve near Fontaine Road. Casper's car hit a tree, Lt. Scott Blakely of the Lexington police department said Saturday.

Police believe speed and alcohol were factors in the crash, Lt. Garry Sennett of Lexington police said Sunday.

Casper, who played for UK from 2003 to 2006, graduated from the university in May 2007. Originally from Louisville and a graduate of Mercy Academy, Casper was the Southeastern Conference record holder in career digs, ranked 13th in NCAA Division I volleyball history in career digs and was a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

"The Wildcat family is saddened by the loss of Jenni Casper," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a statement.

"Jenni represented the University of Kentucky and the volleyball program with passion and dignity. She was an intense competitor and amazing individual. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jenni's family and loved ones during this period of grief."

UK volleyball Coach Craig Skinner added, "We will do everything we can to carry on Jenni's legacy of dedication, enthusiasm and unselfishness through our program."

Information about funeral and memorial arrangements was not available Sunday night.

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