Here in Gainesville volleyball is underway. The Santa Fe College Saints will be taking on the Lake Sumter-State Lakehawks in their season opener tonight. It will be a battle between two top 20 teams to open the 2019 season.
The Saints are coming off an impressive 20-5 season and are sitting at No. 16 in the country. They were also Panhandle Conference Champions in 2018. After losing quite a bit of depth on their roster, the Saints, led by head coach Nick Cheronis, have a challenge ahead in the 2019 season. Young players must step up and fill positions for the team to repeat last season’s success. Luckily, Santa Fe will have setter Jordyn Goracke returning. They will also benefit from the experience of both Zoey Chilcote and Natalia Martinez, who both play in the middle position. Santa Fe has a hectic schedule ahead of themselves. In 2019, the Saints have 26 matches being played in just 60 days.
According to Cheronis, he is excited and hopeful for his team this year. Here’s what he had to say while previewing tonight’s matchup and his young roster.
The Lakehawks are entering the season ranked in the top 20 for the first time in their program’s history. They are also coming off their first winning season since 2003. They are currently ranked No. 15. Like the Saints, they have a tough schedule ahead and have some key players to replace, one of which being All-American Emma Gray. Lake-Sumter state has seven freshmen on this year’s roster.
When speaking about the team, Lakehawks associate head coach Nathan Camnitz said, “We lost talent at every position. We also lost a lot of leadership that this year’s sophomores will have to fill.”
A couple of the Lakehawks’ notable returning sophomores are Hailey Franklin and Skylar Martin.
Santa Fe starts the season at home tonight as they host Lake-Sumter at 7:00 p.m.