The VSU Blazers will travel to Pensacola, FL this weekend to take on four teams in the Gulf South/Sunshine State Crossover Tournament.
VSU is going in to the tournament looking to continue the strong play they’ve shown as of late. The Blazers dropped three straight matches before the group responded by sweeping their next six sets, resulting in two big wins.
On Oct. 7, VSU took on the New Orleans Privateers at the P.E. complex. The Blazers, fresh off a sweep of the Albany State Lions, went into the match as the favorites and surely did not disappoint as they swept yet another match (25-6, 25-16, 25-18).
VSU jumped to a quick 10-2 lead in the first set behind some masterful play by the entire team. The Privateers proved to be over-matched by the Blazers as they hardly put a fight in the first set, managing only six points. The match was over after a two more quick sets.
The Blazers went into the game the next day looking to continue their hot play and hand the West Florida Argonauts their first lost in Gulf South Conference play. The Argonauts came into the game at an impressive 6-0 record in the conference and showed the Blazers exactly why. West Florida swept the Blazers in three competitive sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-16).
VSU put up its best fight in the second set as they narrowly lost the set by two points. The Blazers, seemingly sensing a break through, started the third set off quickly building an 8-4 lead against West Florida before a timeout was called, after which the Argonauts were able to regroup and storm back to an 11-9 lead, eventually finishing off the match.
“They’re a good team,” said head coach Sia Poyer. “When you play a team like that you have to put the ball away. We didn’t pass well and once they got on a roll we got a little frustrated.”
RECAP OF WEDNESDAY’S GAME
The Blazers face another big test this weekend as they head to a tournament in Pensacola, Florida which will pit them against four teams from the Sunshine State Conference. This may be an even more daunting task for VSU as they will be travelling just a day after playing an away game in Fort Valley, Georgia.
“All the juniors and seniors have been there before… a lot of the played club volleyball where they are playing 8-10 games a weekend, fatigue shouldn’t be an issue,” said Poyer.
On Friday the Blazers will take on the University of Tampa Spartans at 10 a.m., followed by another game at 3 p.m. against the Eckerd Tritons. The Blazers may very well face their biggest challenge of the tournament, and possibly their season in their first game.
The Tampa Spartans come into the tournament at a perfect 8-0 in the SSC and 17-0 overall. If the Blazers hope to knock off the number two nationally ranked team they must be at their bests. However, VSU’s challenge does not end there, as Eckerd is another tough team, posting a 6-2 conference record and a 13-3 record overall for the season.
“This is the hardest tournament we’ll play in,” said Poyer. “We are just a service, hitting, or passing error away from some big wins.”
VSU’s second day is slightly less daunting, but the Blazers still must face the 10-7 Saint Leo Lions at 12 pm and the 8-9 Lynn Fighting Knights at 4 p.m. before they can return home for some much needed rest.