Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PHCC returns to NJCAA volleyball tournament

NEW PORT RICHEY — With their coach back from maternity leave, the Pasco-Hernando Community College volleyball this week will defend its national NJCAA championship in Toledo, Ohio.

The Conquistadors, with eight freshmen and eight sophomores, are scheduled to play Phoenix College at 3 p.m. Thursday in the first game of the 16-team double-elimination tournament. The final is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.

"The girls have played at a high level throughout most of the season which is good to see us maintain," said Coach Kim Whitney, who in eight years at the college has taken her team to the big dance four times. "This team understands what is expected of them and we have leadership on the floor that has stepped up in a big way. The biggest focus has to be the team and I've been lucky enough to find players whose main focus is the team first instead of breaking down into cliques."

The Conquistadors are 31-9. Whitney left early in the season to have a baby (Koral arrived on Aug. 26.) Assistant coaches and sophomore captain Jessica Imbimbo guided the team through midseason.

"It was tough having her gone and when she came back we realized how much work we had to do to get to where we needed to be," sophomore middle hitter Quynn Fonseca said. "We've always gotten along well as a team and when we're all on the same page we've won, but it was hard without coach Whitney here. When she got back I think we all realized we weren't doing some important things."

Imbimbo is a vocal presence on the floor and benefitted from last year's championship tournament experience.

"This year's group is a lot different than what we had last season because there are a lot more freshmen," Imbimbo said. "It's put some pressure on me to lead, but I love it and wanted to take it on. I relish the opportunity to try and motivate my teammates.

The champions always wear a target.

"Every time we walk in the gym it's going to be tough because everyone knows who we are," Whitney said. "Our last few practices have been some of our best of the season and we've been working on trying to get everyone to focus on the level that we're at.''

The team has been through intense training sessions over the last week as they prepare for the tournament and received a sending off from school officials and fellow students outside the gym on Monday.

"Because there are so many freshman we just have to make sure everyone is confident and not worrying about living up to last year," Imbimbo said. "Those of us that were here try not to mention last year too much. This is a new season and a new team and if we fine tune the little things we'll make it back to the finals."

>>fast facts

Volleyball championship tournament

The 2011 NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship tournament is set to begin Thursday on the campus of Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. The 16-team tournament includes defending champ Pasco-Hernando Community College. Fans not able to make the trip to Toledo can watch all matches of the tournament on NJCAA TV ( Fans can follow the tournament online at and the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Championship webpage.

PHCC returns to NJCAA volleyball tournament 11/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 9:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What to watch this week: Catch these titles before they leave Netflix in July


    It's been less than a week since summer officially started, and I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for cooler weather to get here. It's too hot outside to function (looking at you, 116 degree Arizona), but Netflix has us covered with a boatload of new TV shows and movies coming in July. Unfortunately, that …

    Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight in 1989's Batman.
  2. Do you need to vote in city elections to run for mayor of St. Pete? Jesse Nevel says no


    Jesse Nevel is running for mayor. But, voting records show, he has never cast a ballot in a St. Petersburg city election.

    Jesse Nevel is running for mayor, but has never voted in a city election
  3. St. Petersburg man arrested for breaking into 12 homes being tented for termites


    ST. PETERSBURG — A 36-year-old former pest control worker was arrested for burglarizing 12 homes over the last five weeks, according to St. Petersburg police.

    David Cooper, 26, was arrested for breaking into 12 homes tented for termites over five weeks, according to St. Petersburg Police. [Photo courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Video: Gator snaps at photographer who got too close at Paynes Prairie


    Perhaps this guy should have just used a zoom lens.

    A video that was posted June 17 on Facebook by Ben Boukari Jr. shows the gator lurching at the photographer, causing him to stumble behind some shrubbery as it chomped at a tripod and rested near his backpack before staring him down. [Facebook]

  5. Timmy Claus is coming to town


    The circus is coming to town.

    Well, close enough.

    Timmy the Tebow is coming to Tampa Bay.

    It’s true. At least it could be. St. Timothy has been promoted by the New York Mets to high Class-A Port St. Lucie. If he stays promoted, Tebow should be in Tampa Bay for eight games beginning August 10 …

    Coming soon: Tim Tebow will hit Tampa Bay in August.