Cheronis, Saints set for 2021 volleyball season

Santa Fe Saints Volleyball Head Coach Nick Cheronis joined Sportscene with Steve Russell today to discuss the coming 2021 season.

Uncertainty and Inconsistency

If there was ever a word to describe the last 12 months, uncertainty might take the cake. Volleyball, usually a fall sport, is no different. As Coach Cheronis prepares for this season, he never knows what players he will be working with. The seemingly endless scenarios regarding COVID-19 restrictions means Cheronis and the Saints must always be on their toes.

While Cheronis will never know what roster he is going up against until game time, his situation is no different. Cheronis said his players change from day-to-day in terms of who shows up to practice or who is available.

Consequently, there are inconsistencies on the court. Execution, or lack there of, has been recognizable across sports. One day, Cheronis could not be happier with his team’s performance, the next, Cheronis is on the verge of throwing chairs ala Bob Knight.

The 2019 Santa Fe Volleyball Team huddles up during a timeout.

Regardless, Cheronis leads a team that ranks No. 43 in the Junior College Massey Rankings. Additionally, this team carries a fair amount of depth.

Cheronis likes depth

Sure, the Saints may not have all their players each practice. However, Santa Fe boasts a deep roster that features a healthy combination of veterans and youth. The lone caveat is that these ‘veterans’ are sophomores. In fact, Santa Fe’s entire roster is made up of underclassmen: eight freshmen and seven sophomores.

Among Cheronis’ favorite parts about Santa Fe’s roster is simply how deep they are. In the modern day, depth can be the difference for any team.

Something notable about those young players is the local nature of many of the freshmen.

As Cheronis explains, many of these young girls have a connection to the area, perhaps providing them some comfort for an uneasy season.

Cheronis hopes the depth of his team pushes them past some tough competition in a shortened season.

Previewing the Season

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restrictions on games, players and practice, Santa Fe college will play a shortened season. However, even though the Saints only play 19 games compared to their usual 23, these games come in rapid succession of one another.

“The time frame is even more condensed than it’s ever been,” Cheronis said. “We’re sort of jamming it in a pretty short period of time.”

These 19 games are not any easier this season. The Saints still play their same regular opponents out of the NJCAA Region 8. Among them include Daytona State, Florida State College at Jacksonville and Pensacola State College.

Friday’s opponent is a less frequent foe, but a decent start to the adjusted season. Lake Sumter State College finished last season at seven wins and 12 losses.

Friday’s game between the Saints and Lakehawks is set for tomorrow at 3 p.m. Although it is a home game, there will be no fans in attendance for the home opener.

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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