Santa Fe Volleyball Begins Postseason Campaign

Santa Fe Volleyball enters their postseason today as they take on Daytona State College in the first round of the NJCAA Region 8 Tournament. 

Season Recap

The Saints are coming off of a Mid-Florida Conference Championship, their fourth conference championship since their establishment in 2014. The title garnered significant recognition for the Santa Fe Volleyball program.

Head coach Nick Cheronis received his fourth conference Coach of the Year award while sophomore outside hitter Madison Sheffield was named Player of the Year. Sophomores Kariana Ayala and Maria Fernandez and freshman Katelyn Crofts were named to the First Team All-Conference. Sheffield and Ayala also received All-Region Team distinctions.

Cheronis cited depth as the key to Santa Fe’s success this season as players up and down the roster contributed in an uncertain season.

Region 8 Championships

Florida State College at Jacksonville will host the double-elimination tournament on March 25-28. The eight teams involved will be competing for a State Championship. In addition, the top three teams will earn a spot in the District Tournament on April 2.

Santa Fe enters the tournament as a No. 4 seed with a 15-2 record and unbeaten in conference play. They will face a No. 5 seed Daytona State College Team.

The full tournament seeds are as follows:

  1. Miami Dade College (18-0, 9-0 Southern Conference)
  2. Florida Southwestern State College (16-4, 8-0 Suncoast Conference)
  3. Polk State College (7-3, 6-2 Suncoast Conference)
  4. Santa Fe College (15-2, 6-0 Mid-Florida Conference)
  5. Daytona State College (15-6, 3-2 Mid-Florida Conference)
  6. Indian River State College (11-6, 5-4 Southern Conference)
  7. Hillsborough Community College (9-12, 4-4 Suncoast Conference)
  8. Eastern Florida State College (7-9, 3-6 Southern Conference)

Cheronis said that his team is looking forward to the challenge that the tournament brings, and believes they have what it takes to finish in the top three. He added that, regardless of sport or level of play, the postseason requires a different mindset than approaching a regular-season game.

The Matchup

The Saints are currently ranked No. 15 in the NJCAA Division I poll. Under Cheronis, they rank second in digs per set (21.59), 12th in hitting percentage (.248), and 13th in blocks per set (2.43).

This matchup will be the third between the two teams this season with the Saints sweeping both previous matches. Daytona State finished second in the Mid-Florida Conference rankings and also has 4 players on the All-Conference First Team.

Cheronis described Daytona State as a “shock and awe team” emphasizing their physicality and roster talent.

Sheffield’s play has been key for Santa Fe this year as she has registered double-digit kills in nine matches this season. She also has five double-doubles on the year and averages a team-leading 3.64 kills per set. Cheronis praised her abilities as both a physical and vocal leader for the team.

The Game

Santa Fe will take on Daytona State College at 1 p.m.

If the Saints win, they will face the winner of Miami Dade-Eastern Florida on Friday at 1 p.m. If they lose, they will enter the losers’ bracket where they will have to compete for championship contention.

All tournament games will be streamed live on FCSAA Digital Network.

About Mark Whittingham

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