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Volleyball Preview: Towson and Delaware

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 11/08/2012
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Senior Jennifer Mallard and the Seahawks close out the regular season this weekend with road matches at Towson and Delaware
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

Senior Jennifer Mallard and the Seahawks close out the regular season this weekend with road matches at Towson and Delaware

WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW volleyball team closes out the regular season this weekend with a pair of Colonial Athletic Association road contests against Towson and Delaware.

The Seahawks open the weekend Friday against the league-leading Tigers before closing out the weekend Saturday versus the Blue Hens. Both matches are scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

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

Seahawk Notes
UNCW moved to 11-15 overall and 3-7 in league play with a 3-0 loss to visiting Hofstra in its final home match of the 2012 season on Nov. 3 ... Sophomore
McKenzie Keightley tallied nine kills and classmate Morgan Kline added eight as UNCW finished with a 34 spikes a .217 hitting percentage against the Pride ... Freshman setter Victoria Phillips dished out a team-high 19 assists while senior Natalie Lahaie added 10 ... Junior Haley Collins recorded a team-best seven digs ... Junior Christi Laite continues to serve as the team leader in kills per set (2.80) while Kline is close behind in second (2.78) ... Keightley remains the squad's most effective hitter, ranking fifth in the league with a .314 hitting percentage ... Keightley is also ranked among the league's top blockers, averaging 1.13 rejections per frame to sit second in the league in that category ... Lahaie and Phillips remain ranked among the league leaders in assists, averaging 6.77 (6th) and 6.00 (9th) assists per frame, respectively ... Collins continues to be listed among the top 10 players in the league in digs per set, ranking ninth with a 3.62 digs per set clip.

CAA Volleyball Championship Scenarios
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, UNCW is still alive for one of the final two spots in the upcoming CAA Volleyball Championship, but sit one match out of the sixth and final spot with two matches to play ... The Seahawks hold tiebreakers against James Madison and George Mason based on head-to-head results, but Hofstra and William & Mary hold the tie breakers against the Seahawks based on regular-season results.

Scouting Towson
Winners of its last 16 matches, Towson brings a 23-3 overall record and a perfect 10-0 league ledger into Friday's matchup ... Junior Katy Buck, the CAA Preseason Player-of-the-Year, guides a potent Towson attack that leads the league in both kills per set (14.74) and hitting percentage (.284) with a 3.33 kills per set average ... Sophomore I'shah Keliikoa has served as the squad's most efficient hitter, leading the league with a .431 hitting percentage ... Senior setter Aubrey Kirven has averaged a league-best 12.60 assists per frame this season, highlighted by a 13.00 assists per frame clip in conference play ...Sophomore Paige Sekerak is eighth in the league in digs per set (3.76) while senior Alysha McCreary is first on the team in blocks per set (0.99) ... 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 under Atkinson's guidance in 2011.

Series Notes Versus Towson
UNCW trails in the all-time series with Towson by a 4-16 margin ... The two sides have been evenly matched in recent meetings, with the Tigers holding a slim 3-2 edge in their last five contests versus each other ... Towson won the first meeting between the two sides this season, posting a 3-0 triumph at Hanover Hall on Oct. 7.

Scouting Delaware
With wins in five of its last six matches, Delaware carries a 13-13 overall mark and a 7-3 league record into the final weekend of the season ... Delaware opens the weekend Friday at home against William & Mary ... Senior Alissa Aiker currently leads the team with 284 kills and a 3.02 kills per set average ... Freshman setter Mackenzie Olsen has quarterbacked the Blue Hens attack during her rookie campaign, dishing out 10.00 assists per frame to rank second in the CAA in that category ... Defensively, freshman libero Ariel Shonk leads the CAA in digs per set (5.64) while senior Chelsea Lawrence paces the squad with 88 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 3-22 margin ... The Blue Hens have held the edge in the series of late, winning each of the past 15 matchups ... Delaware won the first meeting between the two programs this season, rallying for a 3-2 victory over the Seahawks at Hanover Hall on Oct. 5.

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 in early September ... Keightley picked up her second All-Tournament Team accolade of the season at the Spartan Spiketacular in Mid-September.

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 during 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 in that span, 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

Making Short Work Of The Opposition
UNCW has wasted little time in recording its victories this season as eight of its 11 wins thus far in 2012 have come by way of sweep ... The Seahawks have dominated the opposition in those eight sweeps, posting an average margin of victory of 7.3 points with only seven of those 24 sets having been decided by five points or less.

Keep An Eye On Hitting Percentage
Entering the weekend, UNCW is 8-2 this season when posting a hitting percentage of .200 or higher, but just 3-13 this season when hitting below .200 ... The Seahawks only two losses this season when posting an attack clip of .200 or higher occurred in the Seahawks 3-2 setback at UNC Greensboro on Sept. 14, a match that saw the Seahawks post a hitting percentage of .263, and their 3-0 sweep to Hofstra last weekend, a match that saw them record a .217 attack clip.

Record Watch
Natalie Lahaie enters the weekend with 1,549 assists, good for seventh place on the program's all-time assist list ... Lahaie surpassed former Seahawk setter Bea Gerevich (2002-03) for seventh place on the career chart with her 21-assist performance at William & Mary on Oct. 20 and became just the seventh player in program history to reach the 1,500 assist plateau with her 21-assist performance against George Mason on Oct. 26... Junior libero Haley Collins enters the weekend with 1,144 career digs, good for fourth place on the program's career digs chart ... Collins, who became just the ninth player in program history with 1,000 career digs in September, passed Yvonne Holan for fourth place on the school's career chart (1,097) with her 12-dig performance against North Carolina Central on Oct. 23.

Around The Colonial Athletic Association
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, Towson has already secured the regular season title and will serve as the host of the 2012 CAA Volleyball Championship ... The Tigers are a perfect 10-0 in league play as they have won their last 16 matches ... Northeastern sits in second place with an 8-2 league mark and holds a one-game lead over Delaware for the other first-round bye ... All eight teams eligible for the CAA Championship are in contention to earn a sport as only two matches separate fourth from eighth place ... Hofstra's Kelsie Wills remains the league's leading hitter, averaging 4.39 kills per set, while Towson's I'shah Keliikoa is still tops on the circuit with a .431 hitting percentage ... Towson's Aubrey Kirven continues to pace the league with a 12.60 assists per set average ... Delaware's Ariel Shonk moved into first place on the league's digs per set chart, averaging 5.64 bumps per set ... Hofstra's Adama Aja continues to guide the league in blocks per frame (1.23).

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