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Volleyball Preview: Deacon Invitational

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 08/30/2012
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The Seahawks take to the road for the first time this season as they travel to Winston-Salem this weekend for the Deacon Invitational
View larger Courtesy: Joe Browning

The Seahawks take to the road for the first time this season as they travel to Winston-Salem this weekend for the Deacon Invitational
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW volleyball team begins a 10-match road swing this weekend with an appearance in the Deacon Invitational.

Tournament Format
The Deacon Invitational 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 a 7 p.m. match against host Wake Forest ... The Seahawks will play two matches on Saturday, beginning with a 10 a.m. contest against Davidson before wrapping up their tournament appearance with a 4:30 p.m. matchup with Winthrop.

Staying Connected
Live stats are available for all three of UNCW's matches at the Deacon Invitational ... They can be accessed by clicking here ... Friday's match against host Wake Forest 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 improved to 3-1 on the season with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Campbell on Tuesday ... Against the Camels, the Seahawks were paced by the trio of junior Christi Laite and sophomores McKenzie Keightley and Morgan Kline, who combined to record 34 of the team's 40 kills in the victory ... Freshman setter Victoria Phillips paced the Seahawks lineup to a .174 hitting percentage as she dished out a match-best 33 assists ... Defensively, freshman Lindsay Hartmann notched 12 digs and junior Haley Collins added 10 ... For the season, Kline (3.80) and Laite (3.62) currently rank third and fifth, respectively, in the Colonial Athletic Association in kills per set while Keightley is fifth on the circuit in attack percentage (.367) ...  Phillips (7.78) and senior Natalie LaHaie (7.75) rank fourth and fifth in the league in assists per set ... Defensively, junior Haley Collins sits 10th in the CAA in digs per set (3.20) and freshman Meredith Peacock is fourth in the league in blocks per frame (129).  

Scouting Wake Forest
Wake Forest opened the 2012 season with a 3-2 setback at High Point on Tuesday ... The Demon Deacons won the first two setsbut High Point rallied to win the final three sets and the match ...Senior Andrea Beck, a preseason All-ACC selection, paced the Wake Forest attack with 20 kills and a .472 hitting percentage against the Panthers ... Last season, Beck averaged 3.39 kills per set during an injury-shorted season to earn Second-Team All-ACC accolades ... She also tallied 54 total blocks and 62 digs ... Junior Kristen Grissom notched 15 spikes against the Panthers and finished the evening with a .429 hitting percentage ... Demon Deacons Head Coach Heather Kohl Holmes is in her eighth season with the program ... Last season Holmes guided Wake to a  9-21 overall record and a 6-14 mark in league play that included a victory over then-No. 23 Duke.

Wake Forest Series Notes
Friday's contest will serve as the seventh meeting between UNCW and Wake Forest and the first since the 2000 season ... The Seahawks trail in the series by a 5-1 margin and have lost four straight to the Demon Deacons ... UNCW's lone win in the series came in a 2-1 victory on Sept. 24, 1981 in Wilmington ... Wake Forest won the last meeting, 3-0, in a neutral-site contest in Huntington, W. Va., on Sept. 8, 2000 .  

Scouting Davidson
Davidson opened the 2012 season with a 3-0 victory over Gardner-Webb on Tuesday ... Junior Caroline Brown, a Preseason All-SoCon honoree, led the way for the Wildcats with 12 kills and 13 digs to record a double-double ... A Second Team All-Southern Conference selection in 2011, Brown second in the league in kills (3.88) and service aces (0.41) per set ... She was also second on the team in digs per set (3.32) ... Senior setter Ariel Ley also got her season off to a solid start, dishing out 30 assists and adding eight digs against the Runnin' Bulldogs ... Last season, Ley ranked third in the SoCon with 10.52 assists per set and finished fourth on the team with 2.29 digs per frame ... Second-year Head Coach Chris Willis returns to the sidelines after guiding Davidson to a 15-15 finish in his first season with the program.

Davidson Series Notes
Saturday's contest marks the 13th meeting between UNCW and Davidson ... The match will also serve as the fourth meeting in six seasons between the two programs ... The two teams have split the previous 12 matchups ... The Wildcats have held the edge of late with victories in five of the last six meetings, including a 3-2 triumph in last season's neutral-site contest in Rock Hill, S.C. ... The Seahawks recorded a 3-0 sweep of the Wildcats on Sept. 11, 2009, to win the Wildcat Invitational in their last victory in the series.

Scouting Winthrop
Winthrop enters the Deacon Invitational with a 3-1 overall record following a three-set sweep of Appalachian State Tuesday ... Junior Stephanie Palmer has paced the Eagles attack in the early going with 38 total kills and a team-high 83 assists ... Senior Carolyn Weed has also made an offensive impact thus far with 36 total kills ...  Sophomore Jennica Mullins and freshman Amy Zimmer have provided Winthrop with solid blocking presence in the early going with Mullins recording 20 total blocks and Zimmer adding 11 ... Winthrop Head Coach Julie Torbitt is in her second season with the program ... The former UNC Asheville head coach guided the Eagles to a 20-8 overall record and a 12-2 mark in league play during her first season in Rock Hill.

Winthrop Series Notes
UNCW and Winthrop will meet for the 15th time in series history on Saturday ... The Seahawks trail in the series against the Eagles by an 8-6 margin as Winthrop carries a six-match winning streak into Saturday's tilt ... Winthrop posted a 3-1 victory in last season's matchup at the Winthrop Invitational ... UNCW's last win in the series came in a 3-0 sweep on Nov. 7, 1992 in Annapolis, Md.

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 Deacon Invitational with 1,090 assists, good for 12th place on the program's all-time list ... She is just 54 assists shy of matching former setter Lacey White (2003-04) for 10th place ... Junior libero Haley Collins enters the Deacon Invitational with 870 career digs, good for 12th place on the program's career chart ... Collins enters the weekend just 63 digs shy of matching Heather Kimble (1987-90) for 10th place.

Colonial Athletic Association Notes
Hofstra and Towson remain tied at the top of the league standings as both programs are a perfect 5-0 on the season ... Northeastern also remains undefeated, having won each of its first four matches of the campaign ... Six of the league's nine teams were in action with midweek matches and the league compiled a 5-1 record in those contests ... Hofstra's Kelsie Wills (Offensive), Northeastern's Natalia Skiba (Defensive) and James Madison's Meghan Nisk (Rookie) were the recipients of the league's inaugural weekly awards on Monday.

Up Next
The Seahawks continue their 10-match road swing with an appearance in Norfolk State's Spartan Classic Sept. 7 & 8 ... UNCW will face Norfolk State, Rutgers and Stetson during the two-day event.

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