Volleyball Welcomes Mercer and Samford to Fleming Gymnasium This Weekend
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG volleyball plays host to the Mercer Bears and Samford Bulldogs this weekend. The Spartans and Bears will get started Friday night at 7 p.m., with the Samford match beginning Saturday evening at 5 p.m. Saturday’s match is also UNCG volleyball’s Dig Pink night and fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game.
There will be live stats available for each match over the weekend. Friday night’s match will be streamed on the Southern Conference Digital Network. Links for these services are located on the UNCG volleyball schedule page.
UNCG holds a 5-3 advantage over the Mercer Bears in the all-time series. Last year, the Bears were the only team to sweep the Spartans in SoCon play. UNCG last defeated the Bears in 2015 in Macon, Georgia in the only matchup of the season. 2014 saw the Spartans sweep Mercer, including a 3-0 sweep in Greensboro.
Mercer has been a hot and cold team during the 2017 season, earning a 5-8 record. The Bears started the season dropping their first two matches before rattling off four-straight victories. Mercer dropped six-straight matches, including its SoCon opener to Wofford before earning a 3-1 victory over The Citadel in its last time out.
The Spartans have had less luck against the Bulldogs. UNCG is 6-12 all-time against the Bulldogs but have had some recent success. Last season, the Spartans defeated Samford twice, a pair of 3-1 victories. The 2015 season saw each team earn a 3-0 victory on their home floors.
Samford enters at 6-10 and 1-1 in the SoCon. The Bulldogs closed the nonconference schedule out by going 2-1 in the Indiana Invite, hosted by the Indiana Hoosiers. Samford earned a 3-2 victory over the host school, before notching a 3-1 win over UNLV. Last weekend the Bulldogs opened the SoCon schedule at home, falling to The Citadel in three sets. Samford turned around to defeat the Wofford Terriers, 3-1 Saturday night.
The Spartans enter the weekend 8-6, and 1-1 in the SoCon. UNCG split its two matches last weekend. The Blue and Gold got the weekend started by defeating the SoCon’s preseason favorite, ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee. It marks the first victory at ETSU since 2002. The Spartans followed that match with a loss at Chattanooga.
Outside hitter Ashley Muench (Hurdle Mills, N.C./Orange) and setter Allison Penner (Aurora, Neb./Aurora) lead the Spartan offense. Muench has recorded a team-best 174 kills, averaging 3.78 per set. Penner has tallied 514 assists and is second in the league with a 10.49 assists per set average. Junior libero Christina Gregory (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy) anchors the defense with 4.39 digs per set. Muench and Penner also contribute on the backline going for 2.70 and 2.73 digs per set, respectively. Grace Howell (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall-Heath) and Anna Romaniszyn (Port Orange, Fla./Spruce Creek) also add 2.42 and 2.29 digs per set.