Leesburg, Fla. – A new era begins for the Lake-Sumter State College volleyball program this fall as they embark for NJCAA Division II, in a new conference with teams from around the state of Florida.
The Sun-Lakes Conference will be home to six teams including; Lake-Sumter, Gulf Coast, Pasco-Hernando, St. John's River, South Florida State and newly NJCAA sanctioned Florida Gateway. Pasco-Hernando State is the only program that spent the previous season at the DII level and finished with a 17-7 overall record and ranked No. 8 nationally.
LSSC is coming off of a season where the program turned a corner knocking off two nationally ranked teams and were competitive in every match they played in. "This move is an excellent opportunity for us and really all of the schools in the new conference," said Head Coach, Amanda Phelps.
The Lakehawks will open their 2018 season on the road in Gainesville to take on Santa Fe College August 22. Former Mid-Florida Conference foe, Eastern Florida, will travel to Leesburg for Lake-Sumter's home opener August 30. Sun-Lakes Conference play will begin Wednesday September 12, with the Lakehawks hosting St. John's River.
This season, the team will hit the road to travel out of state to match up with other DII programs in Hickory, NC. The Catawba Valley Invitational will take place Friday-Saturday October 5-6. LSSC will take on Northern Virginia CC, Bob Jones University, Lansing CC and Spartanburg Methodist College.
Coach Phelps will be returning six players from last season's squad while adding nine incoming freshman. Gabriela Hernandez and Emma Gray highlight the returners having played in 81 sets and 79 sets respectively. Gray had an outstanding rookie campaign leading her team with 212 kills earning all-conference accolades. As a freshman, Hernandez led her team with 340 assists. Dallas Patterson, Kameron Johnson, Jasmine Kimpel and Amanda Berecz round out the rest of the sophomore class.
"We have high expectations this season," said Coach Phelps. "We have built this program and the culture surrounding it up for the last two years and now we are going to see the benefits on the court."
The Lakehawks will open preseason camp the first week of August.