Stetson University sand volleyball head coach Tim Loesch announced the team's 2014 schedule on Thursday. It is the program's third season of competition.
“Our schedule this spring is challenging, featuring a mixture of new and familiar opponents," Loesch said. "Hosting our first ever home sand tournaments will be great, to start and end the season. The girls love playing at home and we hope to get some big crowds to support them.”
The opening tournament on Mar. 7-8 will feature dual matches on Friday among Stetson, Tulane, Warner, and FGCU, followed by a pairs tournament with the same teams on Saturday.
The Hatters then return to the Ron Jon Beach and Boards Festival in Cocoa Beach where they will face Georgia State, Florida International, South Carolina and another opponent in dual matches, followed by a pairs tournament to end the weekend.
A-Sun play begins on Mar. 21 with Stetson hosting Jacksonville, FGCU and UNF over the course of five days. Stetson steps out of conference play for a road doubleheader at Florida Atlantic on Apr. 2. A-Sun play resumes on Apr. 8 as the Hatters travel to Macon, Ga., to face Mercer.
The Hatters will then compete at the largest collegiate pairs tournament, the Fiesta on Siesta Key, on Apr. 12-13.
The 2014 Atlantic Sun Sand Volleyball Championship will be held in Fort Myers, Fla. on Apr. 18-19. Twice the runner-up in the regular season and A-Sun tournament, the Hatters will look to break through and capture the title in 2014.
“Having come close twice, our players have been talking constantly about winning conference since the bus ride home from the A-Sun tournament last year," Loesch said. "We will have to work hard over the next few weeks to get ready for the start of the season. We will then have to strive to improve during our non-conference matches and peak at the end of the year.”
The winner of the A-Sun tournament receives an automatic bid into the AVCA Collegiate Sand Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. in early May. Schools and top pairs can also qualify for this event based on regular season records.
The Hatters will host a final home tournament on Apr. 26 to either conclude their season or to prepare for the AVCA tournament.