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VB Preview: Northeastern & Hofstra

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 09/27/2012
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Junior Christi Laite and the Seahawks take to the road for the first time in conference play this weekend as they travel to Northeastern and Hofstra for a pair of CAA matches
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

Junior Christi Laite and the Seahawks take to the road for the first time in conference play this weekend as they travel to Northeastern and Hofstra for a pair of CAA matches

WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW volleyball team takes to the road for the first time in conference play as it travels to Northeastern and Hofstra for a pair of Colonial Athletic Association matches this weekend.

The Seahawks open the weekend Friday with a 7 p.m. contest against Northeastern before heading to The Empire State for a 1 p.m. matinee with Hofstra.

Staying Connected
Live stats are available for both matches and can be accessed by clicking
here ... Friday's match at Northeastern will be video streamed for free and can be accessed by clicking here ... Sunday's match at Hofstra will have an audio-only stream and can be accessed 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 holds a 7-9 overall record and an 0-1 mark in league play after a split of its home matches last week ... The Seahawks began the brief two-match homestand with a 3-0 sweep of the The Citadel in non-league action Sept. 18 before suffering a 3-0 sweep at the hands of William & Mary to open CAA play ... With the victory over the Bulldogs, all seven of the Seahawks victories this season have come by way of sweep ... Junior Christi Laite and sophomore Morgan Kline remain the potent 1-2 punch of the UNCW attack, averaging 2.85 and 2.83 kills per set, respectively, to rank 9th and 10th in the league in that category ... Sophomore McKenzie Keightley continues to contribute on both sides of the ball, ranking second in the league in both hitting percentage (.348) and blocks per set (1.21) ... Junior Haley Collins became just the ninth player in program history to record 1,000 career digs as she reached the plateau during the Seahawks contest against the Tribe ... She has averaged a team-high 3.67 digs per frame this season, good for eighth in the league in that category ... Senior Natalie Lahaie and freshman Victoria Phillips continue to split setting duties ... Lahaie is fifth in the league in assists per set (8.50), while Phillips is seventh (7.25).

Scouting Northeastern
Winners of eight of its last nine matches, Northeastern brings a 12-3 overall record and a 1-0 league mark into Friday's matchup with the Seahawks after posting a 3-2 victory against visiting Hofstra in its league opener last weekend ... Junior Kelly Bacon has paced the Huskies attack this season, averaging a team-high 3.50 kills per set, ranking fifth in the league in that category ... Junior Nichole Kurtz leads a Northeastern lineup that ranks second in the league in hitting percentage with a .349 attack clip, good for fourth among all league players ... Junior Ina Kamenova and sophomore Jillian Briner have split setter duties this season, averaging 6.35 and 5.69 assists per frame, respectively ...  Sophomore Natalia Skiba highlights the squad's back row efforts, ranking first in the league in digs per set (5.67) ... Skiba also leads the league in service aces per frame (0.42) ... Huskies Head Coach Ken Nichols is in his 13th season with the program ... He has led Northeastern to 19 or more victories in eight of his previous 12 seasons in Beantown.

Series Notes Versus Northeastern
UNCW is winless in 12 previous matchups with Northeastern ... All 12 matches in the series have come since the Huskies joined the CAA in 2005.

Scouting Hofstra
Hofstra begins the weekend with a 12-7 overall mark and a 0-1 league record after suffering a 3-2 setback at Northeastern in its league opener last weekend ... The Pride will play host to William & Mary Friday before entertaining the Seahawks on Sunday ... Sophomore Kelsie Wills has served as the focal point of the Pride attack this season, averaging a league-best 4.58 kills per frame ... Junior Nikki Kinnier is second on the team with a 3.46 kills per frame clip ... Senior Catalina Charry has served as the squad's primary setter, racking up 8.56 assists per frame to rank fourth in the league in that category ... Sophomore Aja Adams has paced the Pride's blocking efforts, leading the league with a 1.34 blocks per frame average ... Senior libero Kylee Maneja ranks fifth in the league in digs per set (4.15) ... Kristina Hernandez is in her fifth season as Head Coach of the Pride program ... She has led Hofstra to double-figure victories in each of her five seasons in Hempstead.

Series Notes Versus Hofstra
UNCW trails in the all-time series with Hofstra by a 3-17 margin ... All 20 previous meetings have taken place since the Pride joined the CAA in 2001 ... The two programs split their season series a year ago, with the Seahawks recording a 3-2 victory in Hempstead in October before the Pride got revenge with a 3-1 victory in Wilmington in November ... UNCW is 1-9 in its 10 previous trips to Hempstead, picking up its first road victory against the Pride with its five-set triumph last October.

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 1,351 assists, good for eighth place on the program's all-time list ... Lahaie, who moved into eighth place during the Spartan Spiketacular, is now 131 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 1,002 career digs, good for ninth place on the program's career chart ... Collins recently became just the ninth player in program history with 1,000 career digs with her 13-dig effort against William & Mary on Sept. 22 ... She enters the weekend just 12 bumps shy of matching Leslie Noukelak (1,014) for eighth place on the career 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
Five teams - George Mason, James Madison, Northeastern, Towson and William & Mary - are all tied atop the league standings with a 1-0 conference record as league play got underway last weekend ... Towson's Marta Machos (Offensive) and I'ishah Keliikoa (Defensive) and George Mason's Bernetta Moore (Rookie) were recognized with the league's weekly awards on Monday ... Hofstra's Kelsie Wills continues to maintain her top spot on the league's attack chart, averaging a league-best 4.58 kills per frame ... Northeastern's Natalia Skiba continues to lead the league in digs (5.67) and service aces per frame (0.42) ... Hofstra's Aja Adams recently moved into first place on the league's blocking charts, averaging a league-high 1.34 blocks per frame.

Up Next
UNCW returns home next weekend for a pair of CAA matches as it entertains Delaware and Towson ... The Seahawks begin the weekend Oct. 5 with a 7 p.m. match against the Blue Hens before turning its focus to 2 p.m. matinee with the Tigers Oct. 7. 

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