Volleyball Opens New Season At Charlotte Invitational
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team contests its first matches under the direction of head coach Corey Carlin this weekend as the Spartans serve as participants in the Charlotte Invitational at Halton Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
The Blue and Gold will face off against Sacramento State, the host 49ers and Morgan State in the two-day event. New Southern Conference member East Tennessee State will also take part in the tournament but will not play UNCG.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets will be sold per day (Friday and Saturday) and admission will be valid for all matches in the day. Doors open one hour prior to each session. Prices for the 2014 Charlotte Invitational are $5 for adults and $2 for children per day, and are available by contacting the 49ers Ticket Office at (704) 687-4949.
PARKING INFORMATION: Parking is free all weekend, with ample parking space available. Fans can park in either the West Deck, located beside the arena, with easy access to the Halton Arena lobby (ticket office is on the opposite side of the Arena from the parking deck) or at the Union Deck between Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex and the Student Union. Handicapped spaces are available between Halton Arena and West Deck.
The Spartans return three starters (plus libero) from a 2013 team that secured a 17-13 overall record and a 10-6 league mark. UNCG recorded double-digit victories in conference play for the first time since the league schedule went to a 16-match format.
Sophomore setter Sarah Hohman (Zionsville, Ind./Cathedral) will run the offense after a debut campaign in which she received Southern Conference All-Freshman Team honors. She started the final nine matches of the season (17 starts total), averaging 11.65 assists and 2.65 digs per set with three double-doubles during the stretch. Classmate and outside hitter Jessica Brezwyn (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) as well as senior middle hitters Kelsey Sidney (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette HS) and Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) also return to bolster the Spartans’ offensive efforts.
Defensively, junior Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) enters the season just 67 digs away from 1,000 for her career. She eclipsed the 20-dig plateau 11 times last season and racked up a career-high 33 against Murray State. Santiago averaged 4.57 digs per set in 2013 – good for eighth in the Southern Conference statistical rankings.
UNCG welcomed six newcomers to the program over the summer, including junior transfer and defensive specialist Leah Wells (Statesville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC). She was named team MVP and earned All-Region X honors. Wells was also tabbed the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Player of the Week after posting 35 kills and a .361 hitting percentage in a trio of 3-0 victories for the nationally ranked Bucs.
About Sacramento State
· 2013 Record: 15-16
· 2013 Big Sky Record/Finish: 10-10 (T-6th)
· Starters Returning/Lost: 3/3+libero
· 2013 NCAA RPI: 229
· Head Coach: Ruben Volta (Seventh Season)
· Top Returner: Sloan Lovett, Jr., Outside Hitter (3.25 kills per set)
· Newcomers: 10
· 2013 Record: 12-17
· 2013 Conference USA Record/Finish: 2-12 (14th)
· Starters Returning/Lost: 4+libero/2
· 2013 NCAA RPI: 251
· Head Coach: Gokhan Yilmaz (First Season)
· Top Returner: Brittany Leigh Held, Jr., Setter (10.52 assists per set, 56 blocks)
· Newcomers: Six
About Morgan State
· 2013 Record: 12-13
· 2013 MEAC Record/Finish: 7-5 (5th North Division)
· Starters Returning/Lost: 5+libero/1
· 2013 NCAA RPI: 263
· Head Coach: Ramona Riley-Bozier (27th Season)
· Top Returner: Samantha Prescott, Jr., Utility (2.63 kills per set, 2.65 digs per set)
· Newcomers: Six
The Spartans have never met Sacramento State on the volleyball hardwood, but have a 2-4 record against Charlotte and a 3-0 mark versus Morgan State.
UNCG remains on the road next weekend (Sept. 5-6), heading north to Lynchburg, Va. for the Liberty Invitational hosted by Liberty University. The Spartans will take on USC Upstate, Howard and the host Flames inside the Vines Center.