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  • Writer's picturePenny McNees

University of Tampa Comes Back with a Vengeance

One of the best teams in NCAA Division II Volleyball is off to an outstanding start. This comes after the University of Tampa ended their 2022 season campaign with a disappointing result. The University of Tampa unexpectedly fell in the NCAA Division II South Regional Finals in three sets to Barry University, failing to reach the Elite 8 in Seattle, Washington.

University of Tampa Volleyball Team. Photo courtesy of @Tampa_VB /Instagram

The University of Tampa opened up their season with the Courtyard by Marriott Tampa Volleyball Classic, where they beat, at the time #24 Gannon University in three sets. Tampa also played three strong Northeast-10 Conference opponents in the Sandy Hoffman Memorial Tournament at Bentley University, dropping only one set to Bentley in the whole tournament.

JJ Ramirez. Photo courtesy of @Tampa_VB /Instagram

The University of Tampa then opened up conference play at home against Eckerd College, beating Eckerd in three sets. The University of Tampa has not slowed down their roll as of October 11th, Tampa is 16-0 overall and 10-0 in the conference. Out of the 55 sets Tampa has played, they have only dropped seven sets out of the 55 competed.

Mackenzie Dufrense and Kalli Cors. Photo courtesy of @Tampa_VB /Instagram

The University of Tampa volleyball team is strong overall, but three standouts recognized by the Sunshine State College have been senior middle blocker Mackenzie Dufrense, junior libero/defensive specialist JJ Ramirez, and junior outside hitter/right side Kalli Cors.

This season, Dufrense is sporting a .431 hitting percentage with 115 kills, and a season high of 17 kills which came against Florida Tech. Ramirez this season on the defensive end, has 264 digs and is averaging 4.98 digs per set. Cors has been a bright spot on the attack side. Cors has reached double digits in kills in six games, along with boasting a .643 hitting percentage against Missouri University of Science and Technology and a .519 hitting percentage against Florida Southern.

With these players leading the way and how the team is currently playing it is very likely that the University of Tampa will have the chance to redeem themselves in the NCAA South Regional and have the possibility of returning to the Elite 8. This would set them up for a return to the Final Four and winning the National Championship, a feat they last accomplished in 2021.


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