WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Off to one of the best starts in school history, the UNCW volleyball team turns its focus to conference play as it opens Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend with road matches at Hofstra and Northeastern.

The Seahawks start the weekend Friday with a 7 p.m. contest at defending league champion Hofstra before wrapping up their northeast road swing Saturday with a 7 p.m. match versus the Huskies.

Sporting its best record through 14 matches since the 1988 season, UNCW (11-3) wrapped up non-conference play last weekend by winning the Winthrop Invitational, posting sweeps of Bethune-Cookman and The Citadel and a 3-1 victory over the host Eagles to claim its second regular-season tournament of the season.

Two-time defending CAA Rookie-of-the-Week Nicole Lott was named Tournament MVP as she averaged 3.30 kills and 2.40 digs per set to go along with a .463 hitting percentage. Senior Christi Laite and freshman Alyssa Desjardins joined Lott on the All-Tournament Team, with Laite receiving her fourth All-Tournament Team selection of the season while Desjardins was recognized for the first time in her career.

Serving and defense have been among the biggest keys to the Seahawks early-season success as UNCW leads the CAA and ranks among the top 25 programs in the nation in both service aces (1.83/14th) and blocks (2.72/22nd) per set.

Like UNCW, defending CAA Champion Hofstra enters conference play coming off a tournament victory, capturing the Temple Invitational last weekend with victories over Delaware State and Temple. The Pride is 7-0 at home this season, having swept both of its regular-season tournaments at the Mack Physical Education Building. Junior Kelsie Wilis, who leads the CAA in kills per set (4.44), was named MVP of the Temple Invitational last weekend as she picked Tournament MVP accolades for the third time this season. Sara Campolina highlight’s the Pride’s defensive efforts, ranking fourth in the league in blocks per frame (1.14).

Northeastern begins conference play looking to extend 22 match winning streak at Solomon court that dates back to the 2011 season. Reigning CAA Player-of-the-Year Kelly Bacon paces the Huskies attack with 193 total spikes. The senior outside hitter was named CAA Offensive Player-of-the-Week on Monday after tallying 44 spikes and 39 digs in leading NU to victories over regional rivals Boston College, Harvard and St. John’s last weekend. Junior Natalia Skiba highlights the team’s defensive efforts, leading the CAA and ranking third in the nation in digs per set (6.09).  

UNCW completes its seven-match road swing next weekend with league matches against William & Mary (Oct. 4) and James Madison (Oct. 6).