TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Tampa falls two spots to No. 11 in the latest AVCA Division II coaches poll, as announced by the association office, Monday.
The Spartans ended the regular season with an overall record of 27-4, 17-3 in the Sunshine State Conference. Tampa will make their 23rdconsecutive trip to the NCAA tournament starting on Thursday, November 15thcompeting in a 12:00 p.m. match against conference foe, Saint Leo.
To end the regular season, the Spartans went 1-1 in the final weekend of SSC competition. UT defeated the Saint Leo Lions in four sets, before losing to conference rival, Florida Southern, in a similar manner.
Tampa leads the SSC in hitting percentage (.269), assists (13.44 per set), and kills (14.22 per set). The offensive prowess is a lot in part to the sophomore duo, Katie McKiel andSorrel Houghton, who are stride for stride with one another so far this season. McKiel has 424 kills and a .231 kill percentage and Houghton has 412 kills and a .265 kill percentage. The two are fourth and fifth respectively in the SSC in kills. Junior middle blocker Taylor Fosler has also been crucial to the Spartans success and is currently first in the conference with a .386 kill percentage. Additionally, the Ocala, Florida native has 223 kills of her own. Defensively this season, Nicole Dominguez has found a new role on the court as libero. The junior out of Apopka, Florida currently sits with 484 digs averaging 4.17 per set and is 8th in the SSC. Sammy Muellerquarterbacks the Spartans at the setting position. For her junior campaign, she has recorded 1,165 assists, averaging 10.04 per set, 4thin the SSC. The Gainesville, Florida native has stated 15 double-doubles on the season with 319 digs. Finally, the glue to Tampa's roster this season has been sophomore Melissa Elias. Earlier this season, Elias became the first Spartan in program history to earn a triple-double. She gives the Spartans the opportunity to run a 6-2 offense and when is used, allows sophomore Nylah Demps to bring the hammer on the right side. In Tampa's last three regular-season games, Demps has been one of the Spartans biggest and most deadly threats at the net. In the last three games the Tallahassee, Florida native has earned 30 kills and an average kill percentage of .446.
At the top of the poll, for the third week in a row, sits Cal State San Bernardino, followed by Western Washington at No. 2 and Nebraska-Kearney at No. 3. Minnesota Duluth hold on to the No. 4 spot, while Ferris State rounds out the top 5.
Fans may follow University of Tampa athletics on Twitter (www.twitter.com/tampaspartans), Facebook (www.facebook.com/tampaspartans), YouTube (www.youtube.com/utathletics) and Instagram (tampaspartans).
UT also offers free messaging service for text and/or email, which sends alerts and press releases for Spartan teams. To sign up, please register at www.tampaspartans.com. A free app is also available for free download through Apple and Google Play stores. Please search for Tampa Spartans Front Row.