WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW volleyball team opens the home portion of its 2013 schedule this weekend as it welcomes Mercer, North Carolina A&T, UNC Asheville and Western Carolina to Hanover Hall for the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire UNCW Volleyball Classic.

The five teams will play a total of eight matches during the three-day event. The Seahawks begin the weekend with two matches on Friday, opening the tournament with matches against the Aggies (2:30 p.m.) and UNC Asheville (7:30 p.m.). UNCW will square off against Western Carolina (7:30 p.m.) in its only contest on Saturday before closing out the event Sunday with a morning matchup against Mercer (10:30 a.m.).

The Seahawks bring a 4-2 record into their home debut following a 1-2 finish to the FIU Classic last weekend in Miami; opening the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Houston Baptist before suffering setbacks to Alabama (3-2) and host FIU (3-1) during the final day of competition.

Senior Christi Laite earned All-Tournament honors for the second consecutive weekend as she averaged 4.08 kills per set and fashioned a .389 hitting percentage during the FIU Classic. Laite currently ranks second in the Colonial Athletic Association in both kills per set (4.03) and hitting percentage (.338). Sophomore Meredith Peacock continued her solid early-season play as well, turning in 20 total blocks last weekend to claim top spot in the league standings in blocks per frame (1.68).

Mercer heads into the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire UNCW Volleyball Classic with a 1-6 overall record after falling in all three of its matches in the Auburn Invitational last weekend. Sophomore Molly Locke leads the Bears attack with a 3.04 kills per set average while senior Carly Iannarino has dished out 220 of the team’s 248 assists thus far.  

North Carolina A&T makes their way east on Interstate 40 a 1-6 overall record following a 1-2 result to the Ashford Suites Aggie-Spartan Invitational at home last weekend. The Aggies are led offensively by sophomore Aleena McDaniel and her 2.62 kills per set average while classmate Brooke Stamnes is just off the pace of McDaniel with a 2.60 spikes per set clip.

UNC Asheville holds a 5-3 overall record after a 1-3 finish to the Comfort Inn and Suites Invitational at Chattanooga, Tenn., last weekend. Sophomore Christine Lakatos serves as the focal point of the Bulldogs attack, averaging a team-best 3.29 kills per set.

Western Carolina will start the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire UNCW Volleyball Classic a 6-2 overall record as a 3-1 loss to Gardner-Webb on Wednesday halted a three-match winning streak. Junior Caitlin Piechota paces a potent WCU attack that has averaged 12.72 kills per set with 85 total kills while sophomore Cristina Nazario has already dished out more than 600 assists through eight matches.

UNCW closes out the tournament portion of its regular season schedule next weekend as it takes part in the Winthrop Invitational. The Seahawks are slated to face Bethune-Cookman, The Citadel and Winthrop in the two-day event.