FORT MYERS, Fla., - The FGCU volleyball team is preparing for what could be the toughest tournament the team has been in. The Eagles are in the New Mexico State Tournament where they will face the host as well as Utah and Houston.
“This will be a tough test for our team. New Mexico State and Utah are both top-25 caliber programs and Houston has a great team as well,” said Head Coach Dave Nichols. “We were able to get a look at our team against live competition and we have some things we need to work on before facing the three teams in this tournament.”
FGCU opened up the season 1-2 at the NCCU/Hilton RTP Tournament. FGCU went 0-2 without senior setter Roberta Santos on day one of the tournament. With Santos in the lineup, the Eagles easily swept tournament champion Elon 25-18, 25-18, 25-16.
New Mexico State began the season ranked #23 in the AVCA Top 25 poll, but come in to the tournament with a 2-2 record after falling to a pair of ranked teams last weekend. The Aggies are still receiving votes in the poll and coming off of a 26-6 season where they received an at large bid to the NCAA tournament. The Eagles face NMSU on Thursday at 6:00 pm.
Houston enters with a 2-1 mark after knocking off Marquette and Chattanooga in the Marquette Kickoff Tournament. The Cougars return eight letterwinners and four starters including All-Conference USA selection Justine Farmer. Farmer recorded a league leading 606 kills for Houston last season. FGCU will square off with Houston on Friday at 12:00 pm.
Utah is currently 2-0 and is also receiving votes for the AVCA Top 25. Utah knocked off Utah Valley and Santa Clara over the weekend. The Utes were selected to finish 2nd in the Mountain West Conference after finishing fourth with a 9-7 league record. Utah and FGCU will square off at 12:00 pm on Saturday.
The Eagles make their 2008 home debut following the tournament to open up Atlantic Sun Conference play with Stetson on Tuesday September 9, at 7:00 pm in Alico Arena.