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Volleyball Preview: Delaware & Towson

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 10/04/2012
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WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW volleyball team continues Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend with home matches against Delaware and Towson at Hanover Hall.

The Seahawks open the weekend Friday with a 7 p.m. match against Delaware before entertaining Towson Sunday in a 1 p.m. matinee.

Staying Connected
Live stats are available for both matches and can be accessed by clicking here ... Both matches will also be video streamed on Hawk Vision and can be viewed by clicking here ... Fans can also keep up with the volleyball program by checking out the program's Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@SeahawkVB) accounts or the department's Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@UNCWAthletics) pages.

Seahawk Notes
UNCW brings an 0-3 league record and a 7-11 overall mark into this weekend's matches after suffering a pair of 3-1 setbacks at Northeastern and Hofstra last weekend ... Junior Christi Laite remains the program's leading hitter, averaging 2.81 kills per set to rank 10th in the league in that category ... Sophomore Morgan Kline is second on the team in kills per set, averaging 2.73 spikes per frame ... Sophomore McKenzie Keightley continues to put together a solid second season with the program, ranking second in the league in blocks per set (1.20) and fifth in hitting percentage (.328) ... Senior Natalie Lahaie and freshman Victoria Phillips continue to share setter duties, averaging 8.38 and 6.55 assists per set to rank sixth and seventh, respectively, in the league in that category ... Junior Haley Collins remains the squad's leader in digs per set, averaging 3.50 bumps per frame, good for eighth in the league in that category ... Collins recently moved into eighth place on the program's all-time digs chart, surpassing Leslie Noukelak (1,014) with her 15-dig effort against the Huskies on Sept. 28.

Scouting Delaware
Winners of its last three matches, Delaware carries a 6-11 overall record and a 1-1 league mark into Friday's match following a 3-0 sweep of rival Delaware State in non-conference action Tuesday ... Senior Alissa Aiker currently leads the team with 159 kills and a 2.79 kills per set average ... Freshman setter Mackenzie Olsen has quarterbacked the Blue Hens attack, dishing out 9.61 assists per frame to rank third in the CAA in that category ... Defensively, freshman Ariel Shonk is tied for second in the league in digs per set (5.37) while senior Chelsea Lawrence paces the squad with 48 total blocks ... Head Coach Bonnie Kenny is in her 11th season at the helm of the Delaware program ... She has led the Blue Hens to five CAA regular-season titles, four tournament crowns and four NCAA Tournament appearances.

Series Notes Versus Delaware
UNCW trails in the all-time series with Delaware by a 3-21 margin ... The Blue Hens have held the edge in the series of late, winning each of the past 14 matchups ... The Seahawks are 2-7 at home against the Blue Hens, including their last victory in the series, a 3-2 triumph on Oct. 4, 2003 at Hanover Hall ... Delaware posted a 3-0 sweep of UNCW in their only meeting last season in Newark, Del.

Scouting Towson
Undefeated in its last eight contests, Towson begins the weekend with a 15-3 overall record and a 2-0 league mark following a 3-0 sweep of Georgia State on Sept. 29 ... The Tigers begin the weekend Friday with a 7 p.m. contest at William & Mary ... Junior Katy Buck, the CAA Preseason Player-of-the-Year, guides a potent Towson attack that leads the league in both kills per set (14.71) and hitting percentage (.282) with a 3.23 kills per set average ... Sophomore I'shah Keliikoa has served as the program's most effective hitter, leading the league with a .411 hitting percentage ... Senior setter Aubrey Kirven has averaged a league-best 12.64 assists per frame this season, highlighted by a 15.33 assists per frame clip in conference play thus far ...Sophomore Paige Sekerak is seventh in the league in digs per set (3.82) while senior Alysha McCreary is fourth in the league in blocks per set (1.07) ... Head Coach Bruck Atkinson is in his third season with the Towson program ... Atkinson led the Tigers to the CAA Tournament  for the first time in four seasons in 2011.

Series Notes Versus Towson
UNCW trails in the all-time series with Towson by a 4-15 margin ... The two sides have been evenly matched in recent meetings with the two sides splitting that last four contests ... UNCW is 2-6 at home versus Towson including a 3-2 triumph at Hanover Hall on Oct. 1, 2010 ... The Tigers won the only matchup between the two squads last season, taking a 3-0 victory over the Seahawks in Towson, Md.  

All-Tournament Team Honors
Four players earned a total of six All-Tournament Team honors during the tournament portion of the Seahawks regular-season schedule ... Sophomore McKenzie Keightley and freshman Lindsay Hartman earned the distinction during the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash in August ... Senior Jennifer Mallard was recognized at the Deacon Invitational Labor Day Weekend ... Mallard and junior Christi Laite were honored at the Spartan Classic ... Keightley picked up her second All-Tournament Team accolade of the season at the Spartan Spiketacular last weekend.

Laite Named To CAA Preseason Squad
UNCW junior right side hitter Christi Laite was named to the Preseason All-CAA Volleyball Team on Aug. 21 ... A Second-Team All-CAA and NCCSIA All-State Team selection in 2011, Laite played in 29 matches for the Seahawks last season and ranked sixth in the league in kills per set (3.28) while pacing the squad in attack percentage (.233) ... She also pitched 83 total blocks and 27 service aces to finish the season fifth in the league in points per frame (3.92) ... Defensively, the Severna Park, Md., product averaged 1.42 digs per set as she recorded three double-doubles during her sophomore campaign.

Seahawks Hit On All Cylinders Against Hatters
UNCW turned in one of its best hitting performances in recent memory in its 3-0 victory versus Stetson in the Spartan Classic on Sept. 7, recording 34 kills and just seven errors in 68 total attempts for a .397 hitting percentage ... That total represented the best single-match hitting percentage for a UNCW lineup since the start of the 2002 season, eclipsing the previous single-match high since 2002, a 3-0 victory over Grambling State on Sept. 12, 2003, that saw UNCW finish with 53 kills and only 15 attack errors in 98 total attempts for a .388 attack clip ... The performance also marked the second time this season that UNCW has teamed up to hit better than .350 in a match ... The Seahawks combined for a .372 hitting percentage in a 3-0 victory over Delaware State in the UNCW Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash Aug. 25, combining to record 47 kills and just 15 errors in 86 total attempts

Record Watch
Setter Natalie Lahaie begins the week with 1,405 assists, good for eighth place on the program's all-time list ... Lahaie is now 65 assists shy of matching former Seahawk setter Bea Gerevich (2000-03) for seventh place on the all-time list ... Junior libero Haley Collins enters the week with 1,021 career digs, good for eighth place on the program's career chart ... Collins, who recently became just the ninth player in program history with 1,000 career digs, past Leslie Noukelak (1,014) for eighth place on the career list with her 15-dig performance against Northeastern on Sept. 28 ... She enters the weekend needing just 21 more digs to match Ginger Moon for sixth place on the program's all-time list.  

Making Short Work Of The Opposition
UNCW has wasted little time in recording its victories this season as all seven of its wins thus far in 2012 have come by way of sweep ... The Seahawks have dominated the opposition in those contests, posting an average margin of victory of 7.2 points with only seven of those 21 sets having been decided by five points or less.

Going The Distance
Since the start of the 2010 season, UNCW is 9-6 in matches that have gone five sets ... The Seahawks posted a perfect 4-0 record in such contests in 2010 and were 5-3 in five-set matches a season ago ... UNCW has played three five-set match this season, falling to ACC foes Wake Forest and NC State and state rival UNC Greensboro in a two-week span.

Around The Colonial Athletic Association
Northeastern holds the top spot in the Colonial Athletic Association standings with a 3-0 league record while Towson and James Madison are tied for second with perfect 2-0 conference marks ... Northeastern's Janelle Tucker (Offensive), Delaware's Ariel Shonk (Defensive) and William & Mary's Dessi Koleva (Rookie) were recognized as the league's weekly award winners on Monday ... Hofstra's Kelsie Wills remains the league's leading hitter, averaging 4.56 kills per set while Towson's I'shah Keliikoa is tops on the circuit with a .411 hitting percentage ... Northeastern's Natalia Skiba continues to pace the league in both digs (5.60) and service aces per set (0.43) ... Hofstra's Adama Aja continues to guide the league in blocks per set (1.33).

Up Next
UNCW continues CAA play next weekend as it travels to Atlanta to face Georgia State in a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 13.

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