FGCU volleyball goes back on the road for another tournament. The Eagles will head to FAU in Boca Raton, Florida to compete in the Owl Classic. The teams playing in the three-day tournament from Sept. 15 through 17 are FAU, Tulane, Texas-Rio Grande Valley and Abilene Christian.
FGCU starts tournament play at 7:00 p.m. against FAU on Thursday. On Friday, the Eagles play Tulane at 1:30 p.m. and finish the weekend on Saturday with a match against Texas-Rio Grande Valley at 10 a.m. and Abilene Christian at 4:30 a.m.
FGCU comes into the tournament 4-2 after a strong 3-0 Homewood Suites Classic tournament at Alico Arena. As a team, the Eagles have a hitting percentage of .278, keeping their opponents hitting percentage at .171.
Offensively, the Eagles remain strong along the net with rookie Ciara DeBell – 2.84 kills per set– and veteran Amanda Carroll – 4.21 kills per set).
FAU comes into the tournament with an overall record of 4-3 with losses against UNF, Drake University and Northeastern.
As a team, FAU has remained at the top in almost every category and is led by senior outside hitter, Maja Ristic at the net, averaging 3.76 kills per set, followed by rookie, Sigourney Kame, who averages 2.96 kills per set.
Defensively, FAU is led by veteran defensive specialist Nathalie Rosado. Rosado posts 4.75 digs per set and comes into the tournament totaling 114 digs.
The Eagles and Owls have history, and coming into the tournament, FAU has led the series the past three years 2-1. FGCU hopes to regain a win after losing to the Owls in 2014 and 2015.
Tulane comes into the tournament 3-3 overall with losses against University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley, Bethune-Cookman and Sam Houston.
This will be the first time FGCU and Tulane will meet in the past five years.
The Pelicans have played well the start of this season — posting higher numbers in every category compared to their opponents — but had trouble finishing the last tournament they competed in. Taking their three losses to at least four matches and one to five, the Pelicans hope to regain control of their record.
Offensively, Tulane is led by senior outside hitter Tea Juric, who averages 3.27 kills per set, followed by sophomore outside hitter, Hannah Shaw, who averages 2.69 kills per set.
The team is led defensively by rookie, libero Kaylie McHugh, who averages 3.76 digs per set and comes into the tournament 94 total digs.
Overall, University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley comes into the tournament with an overall record of 4-3. This will also be the first time FGCU will meet and play this team.
The Vaqueros have topped team stats in almost every category against their opponents; however, their overall record stays around .572 because they remain fairly even with their opponents.
Sophomore outside hitter Rahni Steen Knuden leads the team offensively with kills (3.36 per set). Offensively, overall, junior Bojana Mitrovic, leads the team by far, being ranked second in attacks, blocks and kills and being ranked first with aces (8) and overall points (118).
Abilene Christian comes into the tournament with an overall record of 1-7. This will also be the first time FGCU and Abilene will meet and play each other.
The Wildcats have had a tough start to the season, averaging numbers in each category lower than their opponents. By limiting their errors and increasing their offense and defense averages, the team could have a strong chance at producing wins.
Sophomore outside hitter Jacey Smith leads the team with overall kills — 3.20 per set — and total points — 106. Defensively, rookie libero Amanda Chapa and senior Dorothy Swanson hold down the team.
Abilene Christian hopes to improve its overall record with this tournament.