by Isabel Marhoun
On Friday, Sept. 6 to Saturday, Sept. 8, The University of Tampa’s Women’s Volleyball team held The Courtyard by Marriott-Terrace Hotel classic tournament. The Spartans faced four teams during the tournament, including the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Crimson Hawks, the Central Missouri Mules, Valdosta State Blazers, and the Concordia-St. Paul bears. The Spartans came out of the weekend undefeated with a 4-0 record.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said assistant coach, Brian Imperiale. “This team is trying to establish its own identity and we faced some very tough competition. To be able to come out 4-0 is an awesome start but as always, we’re constantly trying to improve, and we know there’s a lot of work to do.”
Imperiale seems optimistic that the team is establishing a strong identity and hopes that this identity will continue to grow and stand strong as the season progresses. The next tournament the Spartans will be playing at is in Colorado on Friday, Sept. 13 in the Colorado Premier Classic.
“Right now, we are feeling good coming off of an undefeated weekend,” said Nylah Demps, junior, outside hitter. “But, we know everyone is coming for us, so we have been working hard and getting ready for a hard weekend. We are prepared for whatever we are up against in Colorado.”
The Spartans were ranked first in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) coaches poll after winning the national championship last season. Demps is alert when saying that everyone wants to beat the Spartans. With that being said, they performed well at the last tournament and are hoping to bring the same energy into the next weekend in Colorado.
The Spartans will be playing four matches throughout the weekend. On Friday, they will kick off the Colorado Premier Classic tournament by going up against the No.20 seeded team, the Texas A&M commerce lions and then playing the Regis College Rangers who are the hosts of the tournament.
Sorrel Houghton, junior outside, is excited for the weekend and believes that they are going to go up against some more challenging teams. This weekend will help to set the tone for how the rest of the season is going to go and will help the team to grow against more challenging competition especially when they are not on their own court.
“This upcoming weekend will be a very challenging weekend,” said Houghton. “However, we are always up for the challenge. If we work as a team and keep that grit we have, we will perform very well this weekend.”
Houghton sounds optimistic going into the weekend and is confident that teamwork is the key to the team’s success. After the the Colorado Premier Classic, the Spartans will be back on their home court, going up against the Eckerd Tritons of Saint Petersburg on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
Isabel Marhoun can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org