Sand Volleyball Prepares to Begin Season This Weekend
Thursday, March 06, 2014 | by Jamie Church (@jlchurch)

DeLAND, Fla. – In its third year of competition, the FGCU sand volleyball team will kick off the season this weekend as they compete at Stetson University this weekend.  The Eagles will take on Warner and Tulane on Friday, March 7 and will participate in the Stetson Pairs Tournament on Saturday, March 8.

The Green and Blue finished the 2013 season with an overall record of 5-10.  They faced strong competition in no. 3 Florida State and Tulane at last year’s Siesta Key Fiesta tournament and concluded the Atlantic Sun Sand Volleyball Championship fighting hard, but falling to no. 3 Jacksonville.

Newly named head coach Matt Botsford will lead the team in his first event with the Green and Blue, while Holly Herbers joins the Eagles for her second season with the sand team.

The team returns a strong group from last year’s squad including top performers from the indoor team.  Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers High School) and Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wahahani High School) will play as the top pair this weekend, while Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) and freshman Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) will play at no. 2.

Newcomers Elenora Kazarian (Tibilisi, Georgia/College of Central Florida) and Vanessa Benke (Toledo, Brazil/College of Central Florida) will play at no. 3 in their debut for the Green and Blue. 

The Eagles will begin the season with a 9 a.m. matchup against Warner.  The recently formed team from Warner University participated in the Fifth-Annual Fiesta on Siesta Key last year and will begin the first full season of competition at Stetson this weekend.  The Royals team, made up of current indoor volleyball players and led by indoor volleyball coach Chrissy Mosko, had a solid run in the tournament where they advanced to the Bronze Division bracket.

In the second match of the afternoon, FGCU will face Tulane University, which concluded the 2013 season ranked 10th in the final American Volleyball Coaches Association Poll. The Green Wave finished the year with an overall record of 9-4 and will return the heart of the lineup this season.  The first set is scheduled for 3 p.m. in DeLand.

Saturday’s Pairs Tournament will feature the same lineup and will begin at 9 a.m.  Full results from both events will be posted at as matches are completed.

Following the team’s opening weekend, the Eagles will return to Fort Myers to take on Florida Atlantic University on Tuesday, March 18.  The team will return to DeLand to face Jacksonville and Stetson the weekend of March 21-22.