MACON, Ga. – 2007 Atlantic Sun Conference regular season champion and 2008 preseason favorite Florida Gulf Coast heads out west this weekend to take part in the Hotel Encanto Volleyball Classic hosted by New Mexico State. The Eagles opened play at the event on Thursday evening with a 3-0 loss to the host Aggies, and will conclude the weekend Saturday morning against Mountain West Conference foe Utah in the A-Sun Match of the Week.
Florida Gulf Coast is 1-3 on the season after opening with a 1-2 showing at the Hilton RTP on the campus of North Carolina Central. The Eagles opened the tournament with losses to Maine and UNC Asheville before rebounding to take the final match with a 3-0 victory against Elon.
Senior Audrey Campbell leads the Eagles with a .339 hitting percentage on the season, while senior outside hitter Cheyenne Jenks averages a team-best 1.93 kills per set. 2007 All-Atlantic Sun First Team selection Roberta Santos once again directs the offense, averaging 8.17 assists per set in just two matches. Freshman Holly Youngquist shored up the back row through the first four matches, racking up 39 digs for an average of 2.60 per set.
The MWC coaches picked Utah to finish second in the preseason poll. The Utes accumulated 95 points in the poll, after finishing last season tied for fourth in the regular season with a 9-7 conference record before surging to finish second at the MWC Tournament. The Utes also received 32 votes in the latest CBS College Sports Network/AVCA Division I Coaches Top-25 Poll.
Senior outside hitter Kathryn Haynie led the way with her first double-double performance of the season to help Utah sweep Utah Valley and outlast Santa Clara last weekend in the Ute Invitational. Haynie registered a match-high-tying 21 kills and 10 digs against SCU and also recorded a career high with five service aces. Haynie's kill total represented the second-highest single-match total in the Mountain West Conference during the opening weekend and fell just one short of tying her career-best performance.
The Atlantic Sun Conference is an 11-member league committed to Building Winners for Life, with a focus on academic and athletic integrity and a balance between the two for the student-athlete, and maintaining a high level of sportsmanship. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun encompasses six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun consists of some of the most dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, Campbell University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.