PREVIEW: 2014 CF Volleyball Season

PREVIEW: 2014 CF Volleyball Season

Ocala, Fla.-- Over the past three seasons, the College of Central Florida volleyball team has made quite an impression under coach Flavia Siqueira.

The Patriots have reached the national tournament each time out and have won three consecutive Mid-Florida Conference championships, along with the FCSAA state championship in 2012.


This time around, CF has its youngest team in terms of experience since its inaugural year of 2011, but returns a solid group of players to build around.


"We want to peak at the right time" Siqueira said. "We've got a lot of work to do and we know that we have to work hard in order to get better day-after-day."


To try and get back to the national tournament, CF will look to the sophomore trio of Amanda Saunders, Jasmyn Perry and Marina Adami.


Saunders is moving to the middle from the right side this season and will look to fill the void of Brittney Brown, a second-team NJCAA All-American last season and Florida Atlantic signee.


A year ago, Saunders, a West Port High graduate, totaled 258 kills and earned all-tournament honors at the FCSAA State Tournament.


Perry added 224 kills last season, while Adami, a 6-foot sophomore, finished with a school record for assists in a single season with 1,621.


In the state tournament, Adami, a first-team all-conference pick, had 62 assists in the championship match against Hillsborough, which ended in a tough five-set loss and denied the Patriots their second consecutive state title.


Aside from the aforementioned trio, Joana Chacian (OH/5-9), Shanotta Nawek (transfer from Morgan State/5-10, RH) and Julymar Perez (RH/5-11) are players to watch for CF.


"I think a big difference in our team this year than in the past is that we are going to dominate the ball more," Siqueira said. "The team is very close and working hard and that is good to see."


The key for the Patriots will be finding an identity during the non-conference season while facing the nation's toughest schedule.


CF will play the likes of national powers Iowa Western, West Plains (Mo.), as well as Miami Dade, Hillsborough and Polk State in the non-conference.


A trip to Tyler (Tex.) and a another tournament in Jacksonville are other highlights in the non-conference portion of CF's schedule, which should be more than enough to get it ready for what it will encounter down the stretch of the season.


To have another chance at advancing to nationals, CF must earn one of the top two spots in the Mid-Florida Conference to have a chance at the state tournament.


The Patriots are joined in the MFC by Daytona State, Santa Fe, FSC-Jacksonville, St. Johns River and Lake Sumter State.


CF enters the season with a 28-0 record all-time against conference opponents.


DSC, a second-year program, took the Patriots to five games in each of their meetings, while FSC-J has been a perennial state tournament team.


The newest addition to the MFC is Santa Fe, coached by Nick Cheronis, a longtime former assistant at the University of Florida under Mary Wise.

"The conference is going to be very tough," Siqueira said. "With the success we've had, everyone we face gets up to play against us, so we realize we are going to get everyone's best shot each time out."

CF opens the regular season on August 29 in the Hillsborough Community College Tournament and kicks off its home schedule on September 6 in a tri-match against Gulf Coast State and Eastern Florida State.