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Contact: Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications
Eastern Florida State Volleyball Hosts Conference Opener
Sept. 11, 2013 - Eastern Florida State College's volleyball team begins its Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference schedule against visiting Indian River State College at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Melbourne Campus gym.
Admission is free.
Indian River State comes in with an overall record of 6-4 and a conference mark of 1-0 thanks to its home court sweep of Broward College on Tuesday. Eastern Florida is 4-5 coming off a sweep of host Johnson University of Florida also on Tuesday.
"The first conference match is always important," Eastern Florida head coach Herb Tokumoto said. "It's a discovery phase. You can never tell how a team will react to being at home, pressures from supporters — real or imagined — and their own stresses of wanting to achieve at home.
"The fact that we've lost one of our biggest impact players (sophomore) Ashley Gonzalez (to injury) for an unknown period of time has been a big blow but as strange as this may sound it's also something I feel has helped the team to solidify and they are playing for each other."
Teamwork is vital given the ruggedness of the Southern Conference that also includes perennial power Miami Dade College and Palm Beach State.
"Our approach to conference is to prepare to do battle and leave it all on the court," Tokumoto said. "Win or lose if we've prepared properly and done our jobs and given it our all the outcome will be what it'll be.
"The freshmen I know are anxious to test the waters and compete against a true rival. We've heard the phrase 'test your mettle.' That is what I believe will happen no matter what or how it is told to you until we face the test. The team will make some self-discoveries."
Statistically for Eastern Florida freshman Mariah Davis leads the team with 71 kills while classmate Arianna Bethel has 63. Davis also leads in digs with 61. Bethel has 36 blocks. Sophomore Taylor Gembecki leads in assists with 164. Freshman Mckenzie Price has 53.
There is no rest for Eastern Florida which travels to New Port Richey on Friday and Saturday for the Pasco-Hernando Community College Conquistador Invitational. Eastern Florida competes in pool play against Lake-Sumter State College at 3 p.m. and State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota at 7 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday Eastern Florida concludes pool play against Pasco-Hernando at noon and then moves to bracket play.