Soccer, Volleyball and Cross Country Teams Report for Preseason Practice
LAKELAND - With the start of the fall sports season about three weeks away, Florida Southern Athletics welcomed its men's and women's soccer, cross country and women's volleyball teams back to campus this week to begin preparations for the 2014 campaign. All five teams reported to campus on Wednesday evening for meetings, physicals and pictures before beginning practice Friday morning.
The women's soccer team began practice at 7 a.m., with the men's soccer team conducting its first practice of the season at 9:30 a.m. at Barnett Field. The volleyball team hit the Jenkins Field House floor at 10:15 a.m. for its first practice session and the cross country team held an early morning workout that began around 6 a.m.
The men's soccer team, which is now in its second year under head coach Ryan Sniegoski, has more new faces than old with 15 newcomers added to the 12 returning players. Despite the influx of new talent, the Moccasins will still be a veteran team, as nine starters are back from a team that qualified for the Sunshine State Conference Tournament for the first time in seven years. Florida Southern is now looking to take the next step forward, and its season begins at home against Webber International on Saturday, September 6, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The Mocs also get SSC regular season champion Saint Leo, and tournament champion Barry at home this year.
The women's soccer team also has nine starters back, but returns eight other letter winners as well. Third-year head coach Brittany Jones has also brought in 13 newcomers, and once again they'll be tackling the most difficult schedule in the South Region. The Mocs have faced that same challenge each of the last two seasons as well, and each time they reached the semifinals of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament. They'll open the schedule at home this season for the first time in 11 years, welcoming Georgia College to Barnett Field on Friday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. It's one of the 10 games the Mocs will play against 10-win teams from a year ago.
The Moccasin volleyball team led by Jill Stephens welcomes back five starters and 13 letterwinners from last season's 22-14 squad that advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II South Regional for the third consecutive year. Stephens' 14th Moccasin team will open its 2014 season at home by hosting the FSC/Terrace Hotel Classic at Jenkins Field House on Sept. 5-6. The Mocs will open the tournament on Sept. 5 against Lewis (Ill.) at 7 p.m., before facing New Haven at 12:30 p.m. and Flagler at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.
FSC's cross country teams, which will be led once again this season by Ben Martucci, welcomes back three of its top six runners from last season's team that captured both the SSC and South Regional Championships and finished 27th at the NCAA National Championships, while the women's team brings back five of its top six runners from last season's squad. Martucci's second Moccasin team will open the season on Sept. 5 at the USF Open in Tampa.