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Naples Daily News (Florida)

Florida Gulf Coast University could host as many as eight Atlantic Sun conference tournaments this upcoming academic year.

On Friday, the conference officially announced the Fort Myers school will be home to the volleyball, sand volleyball, baseball and softball tournaments for the 2014-15 season. Regular-season champions also play host to the men's and women's soccer, and men's and women's basketball postseason tournaments. FGCU hosted all four of those this past season, as well as the sand volleyball and baseball tournaments.

"It's good for us," FGCU Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh said. "We're looking forward to having those opportunities."

Baseball and sand volleyball are entering their second year at FGCU's Swanson Stadium and Estero Community Park, respectively. The Daily News reported last month that the volleyball tournament will be at Alico Arena from Nov. 20-22. The volleyball and softball

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tournaments will be at FGCU for just the upcoming season.

This will be the first time FGCU has played host to the A-Sun softball tournament, which it won in 2012.

"We've been hoping to host for a number of years," Kavanagh said. "We had to wait our turn. We had other folks in front of us. ... We're excited to have it. We'll have a busy May for sure."

The sand volleyball tournament will be from April 17-18, followed by the softball tournament from May 6-9, and the baseball tournament from May 20-24.

The A-Sun softball tournament has been especially competitive the past few years, with no repeat winner in the last six years.

"We'll take anything that we can go ahead and get," FGCU softball coach Dave Deiros said. "The conference is so balanced. ... I think it's just a testament to how well we're playing as a conference, how competitive we are."

The remaining conference tournaments or meets are: Cross country at Stetson, Nov. 1; Indoor track and field, Feb. 28-March 1, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Women's golf, April 13-15, Stetson at Reunion Resort; Tennis, April 17-19 at North Florida, Jacksonville; Men's golf, April 19-21, at Chateau Elan, Braselton, Ga.; Women's lacrosse, April 29-May 3, Jacksonville; Outdoor track and field, May 15-16, North Florida, Jacksonville.

The women's soccer will be from Nov. 1-9, with the men's from Nov. 12-16. The men's basketball tournament will be from March 3-8, and dates have yet to be determined for the women's basketball tournament.

Before this past academic year, FGCU previously had hosted the cross country and the volleyball of the conference events that are bid for or awarded not based on regular-season champions. The Eagles volleyball team lost in the conference tournament title match in 2009, and failed to qualify for the conference tournament in 2010 when both were at Alico Arena.

"Hopefully we can be in a position where we can use the home-court advantage to finally get to the NCAA tournament," Kavanagh said of the volleyball tournament.

FGCU has been the host for the men's soccer tournament the past two years, and the women's soccer for the past three. This was the first year that the men's and women's basketball tournaments weren't played at a set site. The Eagles ended up hosting both, winning the women's tournament and losing in the title game of the men's.

June 28, 2014


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