OCALA- The College of Central Florida volleyball team got off to a slow start, but bounced back to open up the 2016 season 3-1 at the HCC Kickoff Classic in Tampa, Fla. this past weekend.
"It is always tough to start off against a very good Polk State team. You have to be on top of your game," said head coach Flavia Siqueira. "With that being said, our defense needs to improve. We weren't adjusting to the different styles of offense like we practice…and we need to work on scoring off transitions."
Throughout the two-day tournament Siqueira did see some bright spots.
"I was very impressed with our serving and how disciplined they (the players) were in hitting their spots," said Siqueira. "Also, our setters showed up and played very well."
CF opened up the weekend against No. 2 Polk State College, who defeated the Patriots in the state tournament a year ago. CF got out to an early 11-7 lead in the first set, but could not hold on as the Eagles took the match in straight sets, 15-25, 16-24, 25-27.
The Patriots regrouped after the early morning loss to win its next three matches. CF only dropped one set en rout to wins over St. Petersburg College (18-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-22), No. 4 Indian River State College (25-21, 25-12, 25-19), and defending state champions Hillsborough Community College (25-21, 25-18, 25-10).
Sophomore Nathaly Alvarez showed why she is one of the nation's top setters, finishing the weekend with 79 assists, 34 kills and 28 digs.
"Nathaly had one of her best weekends with us," said Siqueira. "She nearly had a perfect match (against HCC), finishing with 14 kills in 16 attempts and no errors. You can't get much better than that."
The Patriots will have the week off before heading out west to Salt Lake City for the SLCC Crystal "Inn"vitational at Salt Lake City Community College. They will face NJCAA No. 4 Iowa Western Community College, No. 5 Northwest College, No. 12 Salt Lake, and Casper College.
CF's home opener will be Saturday, September 10 as they host a tri-match with Palm Beach State College (Noon) and State College of Florida-Manatee (4 p.m.). Click here for a complete 2016 schedule.