Sand volleyball rides win streak into conference tournament
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 23:04
Just two days before her final indoor game, FGCU senior Holly Youngquist’s career got new life.
On Nov. 16, 2011 FGCU added sand volleyball as a varsity sport. With there being no sand team at FGCU, volleyball coach Dave Nichols recruited his indoor players to play sand.
Youngquist has her name etched in the FGCU record books as one of the greatest volleyball player in FGCU history, but for Nichols, coaching her an extra few months is something special.
“It’s just great,” Nichols said. “Holly is so focused and so committed. She just gives her full effort all the time, it’s just great having her around.”
Her sister, Brooke, also played indoor at FGCU and is now a professional sand player. With being so used to the sport, it has
helped Holly so far this season. “Her game is more suited for the outdoor game,” Nichols said. “You need quickness and ball control and she has those but she’s been around the game a long time so she sees things developing
quicker than the indoor girls.” It showed this weekend at the
Fiesta at Siesta tournament. “She and (sophomore Kaitlin Holm) really put it together this last weekend,” Nichols said. “They went 4-0 in the pool play this weekend against very good teams and they really improved their game. I think she’s peaking going into the conference
championship.” The Atlantic Sun Championship
for sand volleyball is held Friday through Sunday at Jacksonville University. Five A-Sun teams will be competing and the A-Sun is the only conference in the country that has a conference tournament.
“We’ve won four in a row
and we’re getting better every practice,” Nichols said. “The other day we were laughing because we went into the first match with three practices and lost 3-0 by Stetson. Since then we’ve beaten them twice and we were saying ‘wow we feel so much more comfortable now, we’re getting a clue’. I think we’re going to come into the conference and play our best volleyball.
I haven’t seen all the other teams but looking at the scores, it’s going to be a dogfight until the end.”
With the A-Sun being the only conference with a conference tournament, Nichols sees this as an easy way for FGCU to get some national attention.
“I’m looking forward to the tournament,” Nichols said. “We want bragging rights. The tournament is going to get out there to all the sand volleyball publications and schools that are running it. So we think it’s a great
opportunity and I think we’re going in confident and ready to play.”
With the conference tournament, Nichols feels like that will help recruiting in the future.
“We’re getting a lot of phone calls and a lot of email’s about our sand program,” Nichols said. “It has been a selling point. We have the only conference tournament, we have a conference schedule. It’s definitely a big recruiting edge.”
When the season is over, Nichols says that his girls will continue to play sand over the summer to help condition for the indoor game.
“It’ll improve their jump, improve their quickness and it improves your all around skill,” Nichols said. “There’s no negatives from it except from the frustration that you get from being very good on the indoor game and all of a sudden kids you know that you’re better than are toying with you.