The Saints are coming off a 20-5 season and a Panhandle Conference championship in 2018. They also finished ranked #16 in the nation. "All of those accomplishments were great and we as a staff learned a lot about what it takes to win at the highest level", said Saints head coach, Nick Cheronis. "But we will have to replace 65% of our aces, 75% of our total blocks, and 87% of our total kills from a year ago."
The schedule for this year's season will be every bit as challenging as last year, plus the Saints have added some out of region nationally ranked teams when they travel to Daytona State College and College of Central Florida. Santa Fe will play 26 regular season matches in just 60 days, which means there will be little time to figure out who will step up and lead. "When you have a young team, there is good news and bad news. "The good news is they will be eager and excited to take on the challenge", Cheronis continued, "The bad news is they will have to learn as they go, and that can be a painful experience." In addition to growing pains, conference play will be tougher now that Pensacola State College and Florida State College at Jacksonville will be much improved.
The Saints will have the experience of Zoey Chilcote and Natalia Martinez in the middle position. Both saw significant playing time in 2018, and the return of Jordyn Goracke at setter will help as well. With nine new faces, the rest of the line-up will be a work in progress.
Cheronis added, "So far, what I like best about this group is everyone has bought into the challenge that lies ahead. "I really like who we are and how much energy this group plays with every day."
The Santa Fe College volleyball team opens their 2019 season at home on Wednesday, August 21st against Lake-Sumter State College, 7:00 p.m.
Their home stance continues that first week and includes the Santa Fe/Campus USA tournament, with the Saints competing against State College of Florida, Sarasota-Manatee on Friday, August 23rd at 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday, August 24th at 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. against Palm Beach State College and Daytona State College, respectively.
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