WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW volleyball team completes its non-conference schedule this weekend as it takes part in the Winthrop Invitational.

The Seahawks open the tournament Friday with a 4 p.m. match versus The Citadel. On Saturday, UNCW will face host Winthrop in a 12:30 matinee before wrapping up the weekend with a 4:30 p.m. tilt against Bethune-Cookman.

The Seahawks (8-3) return to the court less than 48 hours after seeing their four-match winning streak come to a halt with a five-set defeat at Campbell on Wednesday.

Senior Christi Laite enters the Winthrop Invitational looking to continue her solid play that has her leading the team and ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association in kills per set (3.63) and fourth in hitting percentage (.290). Laite has garnered All-Tournament Team honors in all three of the Seahawks tournament appearances this season, including MVP honors at Navy’s Kristen Dickmann Invitational in August.

Junior Morgan Kline has also played well during the early portion of UNCW’s schedule, averaging 2.69 kills per set and a .206 while sophomore Meredith Peacock has emerged as one of the nation’s top blockers, averaging 1.55 blocks per frame as she finds herself among the top 10 players in the nation in that category.  

Bethune-Cookman (1-10) will enter the Winthrop Invitational attempting to halt a six-match losing skid. Sophomore Delicia Pierre leads a Wildcats attack that has combined to post a .091 hitting percentage as a team this season with 107 kills and a .146 hitting percentage.  Freshman Normarie Rolon is first on the team with a 3.18 digs per set clip.

The Citadel (2-9) begins the weekend looking to build off a 3-1 victory at Gardner-Webb on Tuesday that put the Bulldogs back in the win column for the first time in four matches. Sophomore Bailey Kernodle leads a balanced Citadel attack with 61 kills as three players have already amassed more than 50 kills this season. At the net, junior Lauren Hurt has averaged 1.14 blocks per set to pace a Bulldogs lineup that has averaged 1.88 rejections per frame.

Host Winthrop (7-3) returns home after recording a 1-2 finish to the Bankers Classic at the University of the Pacific last weekend. Sophomore Rachel Lenz and senior Irene Ojukwu serve as the focal point of the Eagles attack, having tallied 116 and 108 kills, respectively, through the first 10 matches of the season. Junior setter Jessie Vicic ranks 19th in the nation in assists per set (11.35).

UNCW opens conference play next weekend as it travels to Hofstra (Sept. 27) and Northeastern (Sept. 29) for a pair of CAA road matches.