Florida Gateway to host state volleyball tourney

For the first time, Florida Gateway College will host a postseason volleyball tournament.

A total of 12 games will take place during the FCSAA State/NJCAA Division II Gulf District Tournament over a three-day period, beginning with five games on Thursday.

“We are extremely excited to host the event this year,” said FGC Athletic Director Rebecca Golden, who enters her fifth year as AD. “We’re excited to bring teams into Lake City to see our school but also to see and support our community. We’re hopeful that people will come out and support all the teams across the state.”

FGC will not be competing but there will be some good volleyball teams in action, including nationally ranked St. Johns River State College of Palatka, which is No. 8 in the NJCAA DII rankings, and No. 17 Lake-Sumter State College.

This is the fifth year back to athletics for FGC, following a shut down of its athletic programs.

“We’re excited to continue to grow and to build a name,” Golden said. “A lot of people remember us as Lake City Community College and all of our softball and baseball championships, so we’re excited to bring basketball, volleyball, cross country, Esports, and next year we are looking to add flag football as well.”

Golden was in a different position at FGC when sports were shut down, but she has seen the athletics program grow under her watch.

“It’s been a fun adventure,” she said. “We’ve had some great coaches and athletes, a lot of alumni come back and support it. Also, some of our past coaching staff have come back to support the bringing back of athletics so it’s been a lot of fun seeing those people take ownership and pride in bringing it back.”

When sports resumed, FGC started with volleyball and golf. The next year they added mens basketball and womens cross country to the mix. They had trouble finding athletes to support golf, so they decided to move away from the sport and then they added Esports this past year.

“We recently accepted a $10,000 grant from the NFL to add flag football,” Golden said. “We’re excited to support our five-county district (Baker, Dixie, Union, Gilchrist, and Columbia) with athletics to give student athletes an opportunity. We want to offer them as many opportunities as possible to keep them as close to home as we can, if that’s what they choose to do to continue their education.”

This week’s volleyball tournament will be great exposure for FGC, which has an intimate dome gym and parquet floor.

“Now people are getting to see us as Florida Gateway College,” Golden said. “We’re back and we’re excited to be back and be able to host his great event.”

Watch the matches LIVE on the FCSAA Digital Network.

FCSAA State/NJCAA Division II Gulf District Tournament

Thursday, Nov. 4

Match 1: (4) Palm Beach State vs. (5) Florida State College at Jacksonville, 9 a.m.

Match 2: (3) Pensacola State vs. (6) Itawamba (MS), 11:30 a.m.

Match 3: (2) Lake-Sumter State vs. (7) Gulf Coast State, 2 p.m.

Match 4: (1) St. Johns River State vs. Match 1 winner, 4 p.m.

Match 5: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 6 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 5

Match 6: Match 2 loser vs. Match 3 loser, 9 a.m.

Match 7: Match 1 loser vs. Match 5 loser, 11:30 a.m.

Match 8: Match 4 loser vs. Match 6 winner, 2 p.m.

Match 9: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner, 4 p.m.

Match 10: Match 8 winner vs. Match 7 winner, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 6

Match 11: Match 9 loser vs. Match 10 winner, 10 a.m.

Match 12: Match 9 winner vs. Match 11 winner, 1 p.m.

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