FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU sand volleyball team is set to play its first 2014 season home match on Tuesday, March 18 at 4 p.m. against Florida Atlantic University. The match, held at the Estero Community Park located in Estero, will be the third time these teams meet on the sand, with the Eagles being undefeated against the Owls as a team.
The Eagles look to claim their second victory this year after starting the season with a program best 1-1 record two weeks ago against Warner University and Tulane University.
Senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) and junior Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani HS) led the Eagles with wins over Warner and Tulane in the No. 1 spot before earning three wins in the Stetson Pairs Tournament. The impressive mark allowed them to reach the consolation bracket in the top division of the tournament.
The no. 3 duo of Elenora Kazarian (Tibilisi, Georgia/College of Central Florida) and Vanessa Benke (Toledo, Brazil/College of Central Florida) and no. 5 duo of Madi Wilcox (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein High School) and Marlene Moeller (Ludinghausen, Germany/Pascal Gymnasium) return after going undefeated, winning both matches against Warner and Tulane. Both pairs went 0-1 in the lower division of the Pairs Tournament.
At no. 2, Karina Mambuca (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast High School) and freshman Caroline Jordan (Orlando, Fla./William R. Boone High School) defeated Warner but fell to Tulane in a close three-set match. During the Pairs Tournament, the duo went 0-1 in the upper division.
Katie Gutmann (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch High School) and Ashley Baker (Estero, Fla./Estero High School) fell to Warner University in the Eagles’ first single-elimination match of the Pairs Tournament.
“The girls are excited to play at home for the first time this year. Sand is a new sport for most of them, but their adjustment from the floor to the sand has been very impressive,” said assistant Holly Herbers. “I am expecting that what we have worked on as a unit and individually will pay off tomorrow, as we have already experienced our first tournament of the season at Stetson.”
“The girls will be more comfortable and fully prepared from here on out. FAU will be tough, but I know we are going to play our best volleyball at home tomorrow,” Herbers continued.
FAU comes to Estero with a record of 0-6 on the year after dropping two matches Wednesday against Webber International. The Owls lost 0-5 in their first match against Webber and were unable to claim a victory in the second match, falling 1-4 in the second game.
Tuesday’s meeting will be a friendly competition between current and former Eagles, as FAU head coach Brooke Kohler is a former indoor and sand volleyball FGCU player.