DeLand, Fla. - Head Coach Tim Loesch has released the inaugural 2012 schedule for the brand new Stetson sand volleyball program. The Hatters will debut Thursday, March 8 in Winter Haven, Fla. with the first home matches set for Wednesday, March 14. Stetson will compete in 11 dual matches and three weekend tournaments prior to the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships April 21-22 at Jacksonville University.
Stetson takes to the sand for the first time at the Aspire Higher Volleyball March Mayhem Clash of the Collegians event, a two-day tournament at the Aspire Higher complex in Winter Haven. Two-woman teams will be seeded and drawn into tourney brackets against pairs from Florida State, FGCU, FIU, UAB, College of Charleston and others in this season-opening competition.
The first home match will be Wednesday, March 14 at 3:00 pm as the Hatters host a doubleheader against Tulane. Home competitions will be played at the Stetson Sand Volleyball Complex, which is located in the quad between Arizona and Minnesota Avenues, directly east of Smith Hall (across the street from the entrance to the Stetson Soccer Complex.)
That twinbill against the Green Wave will mark the start of a five-match homestand for the Hatters, who will also host a single competition against A-Sun rival FGCU at 10:00 am March 17 and a 10:30 am doubleheader vs. Webber International. Following a March 24-25 trip to Tallahassee for a weekend tournament at Florida State and an April 3 doubleheader at Jacksonville, Stetson returns home for its final four home matches of 2012. The Hatters host Florida State in a doubleheader starting at 12:00 pm April 6 and a doubleheader with Jacksonville on April 10 at 2:30 pm.
The final regular season event of the year for Stetson will be the Fiesta on Siesta Key (April 13-14), a prestigious annual competition on Siesta Key, Fla. that has drawn competition from top national and regional indoor volleyball teams looking to stay in shape in the spring "non-championship" season; the Hatters have sent contingents to this event in recent years prior to officially adopting sand volleyball as well.
Sand volleyball is in its first season on the list of NCAA Emerging Sports for Women; Stetson is one of five Atlantic Sun Conference schools (along with Jacksonville, North Florida, FGCU and Mercer) to adopt the sport in Year 1; as such the A-Sun will be the first NCAA Division I conference to sponsor a championship for the sport. The inaugural A-Sun Sand Volleyball Championships are set for April 21-22, 2012 at Jacksonville University.
The Hatters will wrap up their first year of competition at the AVCA Collegiate Nationals in Gulf Shores, Ala. April 27-29 if they qualify and at another Aspire Volleyball-hosted event in Winter Haven, Fla. April 28 if they do not.
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