Summer vacation is officially over for the FGCU volleyball squad as they returned to campus to begin preseason workouts at Alico Arena for their first practice at 8 a.m. Thursday.
The team will take the court twice a day leading to the week before their first match of the season against Florida A&M at the Florida Tournament on Aug. 24.
This year's Eagles return 11 players, including 2011 Freshman of the Year and second team All-Conference performer Jill Hopper. FGCU also welcomes four newcomers to the program, including transfers Courtney Greenberg (Fort Myers), Christine Pinder and Karina Mambuca (Naples).
"We could not wait for our first practice," said Eagles coach Dave Nichols. "Last year we were extremely young - at times starting four freshmen. We had moments of brilliant play, but also there were moments when our youth was quite evident. Still, we finished one game out of first place in conference play and feel that we only scratched the surface of what we can do. This team is fired up and determined to bring a conference title to FGCU for the 2012 season. I think our fans are going to really enjoy this motivated, athletic, and disciplined group of student-athletes."
The Eagles open their home slate on Sept. 25 when they host A-Sun rival UNF, with ETSU and USC Upstate successively coming to Alico Arena on Sept. 28 and 29, respectively.