MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The FGCU sand volleyball team will travel east this weekend to take part in the 2014 FIU Surf and Turf Duals on South Beach. The Eagles will take on UNF, FAU, LSU and host FIU in the two-day event.
The Green and Blue will open play on Friday at 12:30 p.m. with a nonconference matchup against UNF. The team will close Friday’s play with a 4:30 p.m. contest against FAU. On Saturday, the Eagles will face LSU at 8:30 a.m. before matching up with the host at 2:30 p.m. Following the two-day event, the Eagles will compete in the FIU Pairs Tournament on Sunday. Sunday’s tournament play is set to take place on the campus of FIU and will include all four teams from the weekend’s dual matches.
As a unit, the Eagles are 1-12 on the season but have battled through matches with several close losses. Three of the team’s last five losses have been determined by a single set. Last weekend, the team dropped two 3-2 losses to Mercer but was swept by the Ospreys of UNF.
At the no. 1 position senior Kaitlin Holm (Fort Myers, Fla./Fort Myers HS/Marshall) and junior Whitney Masters (Muncie, Ind./Wapahani High School) have led the Eagles this season. The duo holds a record of 4-9 with four-consecutive losses this year but previously defeated FAU twice and earned a win over FIU just 10 days ago.
The no. 5 pair of Madi Wilcox (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein High School) and Marlene Moeller (Ludinghausen, Germany/Pascal Gymnasium) holds the team’s best record of the year with a mark of 6-8. The pair earned a win over FAU during the opening weekend of the season and has since earned wins over Mercer and Webber.
North Florida enters the tournament with a mark of 11-3 on the season. The Ospreys picked up four wins in dual matches with FGCU and Mercer last weekend.
UNF’s no.2 pair of Anna Budinska and Cari Whitmire leads the team with a record of 11-3 with a nine-game win streak and recently picked up the Atlantic Sun Pair of the Week accolade.
FAU currently holds a record of 2-8 this season, with two wins over FGCU. The team defeated the Eagles 3-2 on two occasions this season, including in the Eagle’s home opener on Mar. 18. FGCU earned wins at no. 1 and no. 5 on the first meeting and picked up wins at no. 1 and no. 2 in the second meeting. The most recent match was determined by a decisive three-set bout at the no. 3 position.
In its inaugural season, the LSU sand volleyball team holds a record of 4-5 on the year. The Tigers earned a win over A-Sun foe Jacksonville and fell to Mercer and Tulane earlier this season.
The tournament’s host, FIU, currently holds a 6-2 overall record that includes wins over no. 9 Georgia State and Atlantic Sun foes Jacksonville and Mercer. The Panthers recently moved up two spots to hold the no. 7 ranking in the AVCA Poll.
All Panther pairs hold winning records this season, highlighted by the solid No. 4 team of Jessica Mendoza and Jessica Gehrke who are 8-0 on the season.
The Eagles previously fell to the Panthers 4-1 at the end of March. In the loss, Holm and Masters picked up a three-set win, while all others fell in just two sets.
Following the dual matches, the Eagles will continue competition in the pair’s tournament on FIU’s campus. A complete bracket will be available this weekend.