Atlantic Sun Conference volleyball spread out across 10 states during the opening weekend of play from Fort Myers to Seattle with preseason top-three choices Lipscomb, FGCU and Belmont, plus Kennesaw State all picking up two wins. The coaches and players expect big things this year and fans can browse some of the top notes, videos and storylines of the season by following “Digs and Kills” the weekly blog on A-Sun volleyball. If you attend a match, this week send us a photo of you and your friends … we’ll get it posted here and on our Facebook page!
Belmont and FGCU hosted season-opening tournaments. The Bruins took down Miami (OH) and Jacksonville State with Tara Blood and Kayla Albritton making the All-Tournament Team. Watch the Bruins' highlights of the win against Redhawks here and check out the postmatch interviews here
FGCU opened with a victory against Bethune-Cookman and closed the weekend by topping Houston Baptist. Like the Bruins, the Eagles placed two, Camil Dominguez and Holly Youngquist on the All-Tournament Team.
Record-setting start for Owls
Kennesaw State surprised many last year in posting a 17-12 record. This year they look to build on that success and have started in the right direction, winning two of three matches at the Southern Miss/LaQuinta Inn Invitational. In the opening match, against Nicholls State, Sabrita Gulley set a school record with 18 kills in a three-set match only to see Alyssa Lang tally 19 kills against Southern Miss a day later.
Watch postgame interviews from the Nicholls State contest with Sara Metroka here and Sabrita Gulley here
Get healthy and we'll see ya in 2011
FGCU's challenge for the top spot suffered a set back even before the first serve was put in play as the team announced that All-Atlantic Sun outside hitter Jelena Simic would take a red-shirt year to continue her rehab from a knee injury suffered at last year's A-Sun Championships.
Facing the Best
For the first time in six years, a Campbell squad faced the top-ranked team in the nation when the volleyball team took on Penn State. At the 2004 NCAA Tournament, the Camels' women's soccer team squared off with No. 1 North Carolina.
Mercer and Stetson host weekend tournaments - both starting on Friday. Mercer welcomes Presbyterian, UT Martin and The Citadel as part of the sixth annual Bear Brawl. The Bears and Blue Hose only prior meeting came at the 2008 Bear Brawl (won by Mercer). The Hatters will entertain Bethune-Cookman, FAU and Wofford for the Clarion Invitational. Stetson and Bethune-Cookman have met 48 times, tied for the second-most played non-conference series in Stetson history.
“When you come and you’re a part of Lipscomb volleyball, you know that anything less than all out defense is not going to be accepted,” head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I expect each and every one of our players to play as hard as they can, and I think at the end of the day, they’ll appreciate it. Courtesy LipscombSports.com
“We started out slow again but we finally hit our rhythm and it was fun to watch,” Jacksonville head coach Shaun Kupferberg said . “With such a young team, you know there is going to be struggles but this group has the talent to do some things this year. It’s all of question of how long it will take for us to gel.” Courtesy JUDolphins.com