WINTER HAVEN — Polk State Volleyball released its 2012 schedule Thursday — and it's a tough one.
The Eagles will face Pasco-Hernando Community College and Pensacola State, neither of which were on last year's schedule.
Pasco-Hernando is one of the nation's best NJCAA Divison II teams. Last season, Pasco-Hernando was ranked No. 6 in the final NJCAA Division II National Poll and earned a berth to the NJCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament.
Pensacola, meanwhile, was last season's Panhandle Conference Champion and finished the season with a 26-8 record.
"We wanted to set up a tough schedule and play some teams we did not play last year," said Interim Head Coach German Del Valle.
The Eagles will face Pasco-Hernando on Oct. 19, in the opening round of the Lake-Sumter Tournament, and Pensacola on Oct. 26 in the opening round of the Hillsborough Tournament.
The team's 32-match slate features nine home matches at the Winter Haven Health Center, and seven matches against teams that advanced to last year's Florida College System Activities Association State Tournament — College of Central Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Indian River State College, St. Petersburg College, and Miami Dade College, as well as Pensacola.
Polk is coming off its best season in program history. Last year, the team had a school record of 25 wins overall, and a 7-1 record and first-place finish in the Suncoast Conference. The team also earned its first berth to the FCSAA State Tournament.
Del Valle said the team is looking to surpass last year's success.
"Our No.1 goal is to win the Conference, our next goal is to get to the State Tournament. We have a good recruiting class, but the players will have to buy in to the system. I'm looking to find the right chemistry, keep our health and get back to the State Tournament," said Del Valle.