GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG volleyball team wraps up regular season play Friday, welcoming Davidson to Fleming Gymnasium for a match at 7 p.m. The Spartans will pay tribute to their four seniors before the match. The contest is also part two of a day-night doubleheader with the women’s basketball team which hosts South Carolina State at 2 p.m.
“I am excited for the opportunity to send our seniors out with the recognition they deserve,” head coach Patrick Nicholas said. “I entered the program at the same time as two of them so it will be a little emotional for me. The group has been so coachable and has left a foundation for the program’s future success. You really see how much they are loved through the fact that the pep band and cheer squads support them at every home match. That just doesn’t happen everywhere. I will certainly miss this group of young women.”
With just one match remaining in the regular season, UNCG (16-12, 9-6 SoCon) sits alone in fourth place in the league standings - a half game ahead of Appalachian State. The Spartans can finish no worse than fifth place and can finish in a tie for third if Samford loses its final two matches. The Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker over UNCG for tournament seeding purposes.
Davidson (15-13, 6-8 SoCon) enters the weekend fighting for a spot in the SoCon tournament field. The Wildcats are tied with Wofford for the final tournament berth. Davidson is playing well as of late, having put together a three-match winning streak including victories over Chattanooga, The Citadel and co-league leader Georgia Southern. Caroline Brown leads the Wildcats offensively with 357 kills (3.77 per set) while Anastasia Owen owns a team-best 426 digs (4.22 per set).
The Blue and Gold posted an impressive sweep of local rival Elon Wednesday, winning the match 25-19, 25-21 and 25-20. Reigning Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week and senior outside hitter Karrian Chambers (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated) put together another stellar outing, recording a match-high 13 kills on 26 attempts with just four errors to finish with a .346 hitting mark. Senior middle hitter Morgan Freeman (Virginia Beach, Va./University of Connecticut) hit for a high percentage, recording nine kills on 20 swings with no errors to end up at .450. Senior middle hitter Olivia Humphries (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) was also flawless in 15 attempts as she tallied eight kills and hit .533. Defensively, sophomore libero Katherine Santiago (San Juan, Puerto Rico/Colegio Adianez) averaged just over six digs per set as she checked in with 19 in the three frames.
The Spartans were very efficient on offense, hitting .340 as a team with 42 kills and only 10 errors. UNCG also out-dueled the Phoenix defensively – posting 43 digs to Elon’s 36.
Humphries and Chambers help lead a balanced offense which has six players at 121 kills or more. Humphries paces the squad in total kills at 308 while Chambers is first in kills per set (3.17). Defensively, Santiago has posted 452 digs – good for 4.57 per set and a fifth-place ranking in the SoCon. As a team, UNCG resides in the top four in the league statistics in many categories including second in digs, third in kills and assists and fourth in hitting percentage and opponent hitting percentage.
When the teams met earlier this year, Davidson completed a comeback from a 2-1 deficit for the second-straight season at Belk Arena to post a 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 19-25, 25-10, 15-13) Southern Conference victory. Chambers paced the offense with 16 kills and added 14 digs to complete her fifth double-double of the season. Freshman outside hitter Sydney Darden (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) was next with 13 kills while junior middle hitter Vicky Harley (Blythewood, S.C./Blythewood) and Humphries chipped in with 10 apiece. Defensively, Santiago led all players with 22 digs while senior libero Kellie Orewiler (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison Comprehensive) contributed 16 of her own. Freeman was active at the net as she tallied seven blocks – many of the solo variety – while Chambers ended up with six and Harley checked in with five.
Davidson leads the all-time series with UNCG 19-14 and the Wildcats have captured two consecutive meetings - both at Belk Arena.
UNCG Player Senior Night Quotes
Senior Olivia Humphries: “My time here has been unforgettable. It is hard to believe Senior Night is finally here. It has been an amazing ride.”
Senior Morgan Freeman: “Four years ago, I thought about this day and how it would eventually get here. Now that it is tomorrow, I really cannot wrap my head around it. It is weird but amazing all at the same time. It’s been a great experience.”
Senior Kellie Orewiler: “Not a day has gone by the last four years that I did not forget how thankful I am to have been a collegiate athlete at UNCG. I am sad to be playing in Fleming Gymnasium one last time but I am also happy at the same time to begin a new chapter in life. The memories I have made here will be unforgettable.”
Senior Karrian Chambers: “It has been a great four years here and I cannot be more grateful for the experience. I have met so many people that I can now call friends. It has been a great ride but we are not done yet.”
Junior Vicky Harley: “I am so lucky to have met and gotten to know these girls over the past few years. I will miss them very much and wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”
Junior Emily McMurtrey: “I have become really close with this senior class and I am happy I was able to play with them for three years. I have loved learning from them on and off the court! They are a great class of leaders and I will miss them.”
Junior Kelsey Sidney: “I have so many special memories with all four of our seniors. It will be hard to say goodbye because we have shared so many good times together. I know each one of them will be successful in anything they do.”
Freshman Sara Hohman: “This senior class is a great group of girls that I have gotten to know really well over this past season. We have had some great times as a team and it is sad to see them go, but I wish them the best of luck in the future.”
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