Three home tournaments plus a trip to California and Hawaii highlight the 2017 Stetson University beach volleyball schedule, which was released on Thursday.
Stetson, which finished the 2016 season ranked eighth in the nation, is scheduled to play at least nine matches against Top 10 teams.
“This year will be one of our toughest schedules yet,” Stetson head coach Kristina Hernandez said. “We are playing nearly everyone in the top 10, and we start off very strong against some of the top teams in the eastern region. It will be a great test for us to see where we are at the beginning of season. The trip to the west coast will be a first for our program, and I am excited to get our team out there to compete and represent Stetson. We are ready for that challenge.”
A 2016 NCAA Championship participant, the Hatters will open the season March 4-5 by hosting the Stetson Spring Break Invitational. Florida Atlantic, Florida State and LSU join the field for the two-day event. The Seminoles (No. 2) and Tigers (No. 10) will be Stetson’s first two opponents who were ranked in last year’s final AVCA Top 10 poll.
Next, Stetson will head out west for the first time in program history, beginning with a stop in Long Beach, Calif. to face Long Beach State (No. 9) and Cal State LA. It will be a homecoming trip of sorts for four Hatters who hail from the west coast.
Stetson will then compete in the University of Hawai’i Invitational on March 10-11 against Hawai’i (No. 4) and Loyola Marymount.
Back in Florida the following week, the Hatters will host the Stetson Beach Invitational (March 17-18) as Georgia State (No. 7), Lincoln Memorial, Florida Atlantic and New Mexico travel to DeLand.
On March 25-26, Stetson will compete at the Gamecock Invitational in Columbia, S.C. against Georgia State (No. 7), South Carolina, Florida State (No. 2), and defending national champion USC (No. 1).
Next, the Hatters will navigate through a five-team, 10-match ASUN regular season schedule with home matches on April 7 and April 8 against Mercer and Coastal Carolina. Stetson will also face UNF, Jacksonville and FGCU on the road.
On April 14, the Hatters will wrap up the regular season in Tallahassee with matches against Pepperdine (No. 5) and FIU.
For the first time, Stetson University will host the ASUN Beach Volleyball Championship, April 22-23 at the Cooper Beach Volleyball Courts. The Hatters will be seeking their third postseason ASUN Championship in the past four years.
The Hatters will also be seeking their second straight appearance in the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championships, which will be held May 5-7 in Gulf Shores, Ala. Eight teams will once again be selected to compete for the national championship.
Admission is free to all home beach volleyball matches in 2017. Preseason practice starts Monday.
News courtesy of Stetson Athletics.
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