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Volleyball Preview: Spartan Classic

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 09/06/2012
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Junior Haley Collins and the Seahawks continue their 10-match road swing this weekend as they take part in the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

Junior Haley Collins and the Seahawks continue their 10-match road swing this weekend as they take part in the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW volleyball team continues its 10-match road swing this weekend as it takes part in the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State.

Tournament Format
The Spartan Classic will feature six matches with all four teams playing each other once in a round-robin format to determine the tournament champion ... UNCW opens the two-day event Friday with matches against Stetson (Noon) and Rutgers (4:30 p.m.) ... The Seahawks complete their tournament appearance Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest against host Norfolk State.

Staying Connected
Live stats are available for all three of UNCW's matches at the Spartan Classic  and can be accessed by clicking here ... All three of UNCW's matches during the tournament will also be video streamed and can be viewed by clicking here ... Fans can also keep up with the volleyball program by checking out the team's Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@SeahawkVB) accounts or the department's Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@UNCWAthletics) pages.

Seahawk Notes
UNCW returns to the road for the second straight weekend after opening the road portion of its 2012 schedule with a 1-2 result at the Deacon Invitational last weekend ... The Seahawks opened the event with a five-set loss to host Wake Forest on Aug. 31 before posting a sweep of Winthrop and suffering a 3-1 setback to Davidson on Sept. 1 ... The win against the Eagles snapped a six-match losing streak for the Seahawks against the Eagles, dating back to the 1992 season ... Senior Jennifer Mallard, who earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Deacon Invitational, averaged 4.50 kills per set and turned in a .266 hitting percentage during the tournament ... Mallard posted a career-high 20 kills in the Seahawks loss to the Wildcats in the tournament finale ... Junior Christi Laite continues to pace the Seahawks attack in kills per set (3.36) ... Laite, who ranks fourth in the CAA in kills per frame, is one of three Seahawks to reside in the top ten of the league in that category as sophomore Morgan Kline is eighth (3.10) and Mallard ranks tenth (2.90) ... Defensively, junior Haley Collins leads the team in digs per set (2.75)while freshman Meredith Peacock is third in the league in blocks per set (1.22).

Scouting Stetson
Stetson brings a 2-7 mark into the weekend after posting a 3-0 sweep of Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday ... The Hatters are led offensively by junior Kaley Melville (2.54 kills per set) while junior Ellen Hawks (2.09), freshman Cailyn Prewitt (1.97) and sophomore Catherine Coston (1.92) have given second-year Head Coach Tim Loesch a balanced attack in the early going ... Senior Kelli Carneal (4.54 assists per set) and freshman Kayla Weller (3.47) have split time at the setter position this season ... Senior Monique Russell highlights Stetson's defensive efforts, registering  4.69 digs per set to date, while Hawks paces the squad with 32 total blocks.

Series Notes Versus Stetson
UNCW and Stetson will face each other for the third time in series history on Friday ... The match will serve as the first meeting between the two programs since in the 1999 season ... The Seahawks won the first matchup in 1987, 2-0, before the Hatters got revenge with a 3-0 sweep during the 1999 campaign.

Scouting Rutgers
Off to its best start since the 1996 season, Rutgers enters the Spartan Classic with a 7-1 record after sweeping the Rutgers Invitational at home last weekend ... Freshman Alex Lassa paces a high-powered Scarlet Knight attack that has already combined for more than 400 kills and .243 attack percentage with a 4.05 kills per frame clip ... Senior Kylie Orr (3.41) and freshman Sarah Schmid (3.32) provide depth to fifth-year Head Coach CJ Werneke's lineup as both players are contributing more than three spikes per set ... Senior Stephanie Zielinski has dished out 11.42 assists per frame to rank second in the BIG EAST in that category ... Schmid and senior Alex Jones have posted 0.77 and 0.84 blocks per set, respectively, to lead Rutgers' blocking effort ... Junior Tracy Wright paces the Scarlet Knights backline with a 4.23 digs per set clip.

Series Notes Versus Rutgers
Friday's match marks the first meeting between UNCW and Rutgers ... The Seahawks hold a 1-2 mark all-time against schools from the BIG EAST, having posting a victory over Connecticut and losses to Cincinnati and Villanova.

Scouting Norfolk State
Host Norfolk State begins the Spartan Classic with a 2-5 record after posting a 1-3 result in the Robert Morris/Duquesne Invitational Labor Day weekend ... Senior Charlotte Armstead has served as the focal point of the Spartans lineup this season, averaging 3.19 kills and a .295 hitting percentage to go along with 0.88 blocks per set clip ...  Armstead turned in the one of the best performances for a Norfolk State player in recent memory, recording 22 kills and a .600 hitting percentage in the Spartans 3-1 victory over Providence on Sept. 1 ... Fellow senior Beatrice Ferreira (2.60), freshman Jessica Johnson (1.64) and junior Coralie Jarema (1.62) have provided depth to the Spartans attack in the early going  as all three players have posted more than 1.5 kills per set ... Defensively, Armstead,  Jarema (0.96 blocks) and junior Goda Jankauskaite (1.07) have formed a formidable blocking trio in the early going ... In the backcourt, sophomore Noelle Eagles has averaged a team-best 3.88 digs per set.

Series Notes Versus Norfolk State
UNCW holds a 3-0 lead in the all-time series with Norfolk State ... The Seahawks have won all nine sets they have played against the Spartans ... The two programs last faced each other during the 2007 season, with UNCW posting a 3-0 victory in the Battle at the Beach Tournament at Hanover Hall.

Seahawks Hit On All Cylinders Against Hornets
UNCW turned in one of its best hitting performances in recent memory in its 3-0 victory against Delaware State last Saturday at the Courtyard Wilmington Beach Bash, combining to record 47 kills and just 15 errors in 86 total attempts for a .372 attack percentage in the three-match sweep ... The performance represented the best single-match hitting percentage for a UNCW lineup since Sept. 12, 2003, when UNCW finished with 53 kills and only 15 attack errors in 98 total attempts for a .388 attack clip in a 3-0 win over Grambling State.

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.

Record Watch
Setter Natalie LaHaie begins the Spartan Classic with 1,108 assists, good for 11th place on the program's all-time list ... She is just 36 assists shy of matching former setter Lacey White (2003-04) for 10th place ... Junior libero Haley Collins enters the Deacon Invitational with 869 career digs, good for 11th place on the program's career chart ... Collins enters the weekend just 34 digs shy of matching Heather Kimble (1987-90) for 10th place.

Going The Distance
Since the start of the 2010 season, UNCW is 9-4 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 one five-set match this season, suffering a 3-2 setback at Wake Forest to open the Deacon Invitational on Aug. 31.

Around The Colonial Athletic Association
Hofstra remains atop the league standings with an 8-1 record after the first two weeks of the season ... Towson (6-2) and Northeastern (6-2) are tied for second while UNCW (4-3) is fourth ... Hofstra sophomore Sophomore outside hitter Kelsie Wills, the CAA Offensive Player-of-the-Week, was named Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player-of-the-Week on Tuesday ... Wills led the Pride to a perfect 4-0 record last week, racking up a total of 90 kills, a .364 hitting percentage, 33 digs and 15 total blocks ... She currently paces the league in kills per set (5.90) and ranks sixth in hitting percentage (.309) ... Sophomore Natalia Skiba (Northeastern) and Carolyn Albright (William & Mary) were named the CAA Defensive and Rookie-of-the-Week, respectively.  

Up Next
UNCW remains on the road as it travels to Raleigh Tuesday for a 7 p.m. match against NC State.

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