UNCG (10-10, 2-2 SoCon) at Samford (15-3, 2-2 SoCon), Oct. 7, 8 p.m., Birmingham, Ala.
Video: SamfordSports.com (subscription required)
UNCG at Chattanooga (2-16, 0-4 SoCon), Oct. 8, 7 p.m., Chattanooga, Tenn.
Video: GoMocs.com (subscription required)
- UNCG will leave the friendly confines of Fleming Gymnasium this weekend as the Spartans travel for a pair of SoCon road contests. The Spartans will begin their road trip on Friday at Samford for an 8 p.m. match before facing off against Chattanooga on Saturday at 7 p.m.
- On Tuesday, the Spartans hosted North Carolina Central for their final midweek and nonconference match of the season. UNCG raced out to take the first set 25-14 before electing to go to its bench for much of the remaining two sets. The Spartans would go on to win the final two sets, 25-23 and 25-22, to score the 3-0 sweep over the Eagles.
- Samford enters Friday's match with a 15-3 overall record and tied with UNCG for second in SoCon North Division with a 2-2 mark. On Wednesday, the Bulldogs swept Chattanooga, 3-0, at home. The Mocs will enter Saturday's match with just a 2-16 record this year and an 0-4 record in SoCon matches.
- Last weekend, UNCG hosted Western Carolina and Appalachian State for a pair of Southern Conference matches. The Spartans fell to the Catamounts on Saturday, 3-0, and then faced the Mountaineers on Sunday. In that match, UNCG came out and took the first set, but Appalachian State rallied to win the final three sets to defeat the Spartans, 3-1.
- Some of the Spartans have shown up in the top-10 in the numerous statistical categories in the SoCon this season. Kellie Orewiler currently ranks sixth in the league with a 4.41 digs/set average and is also third in the SoCon with 29 service aces. Teammate Morgan Freeman is now seventh in the league in service aces with 23. Ariel Newman has also cracked the top-10 in kills per set as she is averaging 3.14, which is seventh in the conference, and Karrian Chambers is ninth this week with a 3.00 kills/set average.
- Last week, senior captain Ariel Newman was named the SoCon Offensive Player of the Week. In the three matches, Newman averaged 4.11 kills per set and had a .390 hitting percentage. Against Elon, Newman posted a match-high 21 kills and added 15 digs for a double-double.
- Two weekends ago, UNCG hosted Elon for its Southern Conference opener and defeated the Phoenix, 3-2. The Spartans opened up the early 2-0 lead in the match, but Elon came back to tie it at two before UNCG won the final set, 15-7. UNCG then hit the road last Sunday to face The Citadel and swept the Bulldogs, 3-0.
- On Sept. 21, UNCG made the short trip to North Carolina A&T and came away with a 3-0 victory. Karrian Chambers led the Spartans with nine kills and Holland Hoefnagel added seven kills of her own. Kellie Orewiler also had 13 digs in the winning effort.
- On Sept. 16-17, UNCG hosted its second tournament this fall as Memphis, Radford and Howard came to town for the Spartan Spiketacular. The Spartans fell to Memphis on Friday night, but bounced back to defeat Howard, 3-1, before sweeping Radford later in the day.
- At the conclusion of the Spartan Spiketacular, sophomore Kellie Orewiler was named the Libero of the Tournament. Ari Lysacek and Karrian Chambers both earned All-Tournament Team honors, as well.
- On Sept. 3-4, UNCG traveled up to Fairfax, Va. for the Patriot Invitational on the campus of George Mason. The Spartans defeated High Point, 3-1, last Saturday before falling to host George Mason in the nightcap, 3-1. On Sunday, UNCG took down Navy, 3-1. Ariel Newman was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts over the weekend.
- The first weekend of the season, the Spartans went 1-3 as they hosted the first annual UNCG Invitational. On Friday, UNCG fell to Coastal Carolina, 3-1, in its season opener and then fell to East Tennessee State by the same score later in the evening. On Saturday, the Spartans came out and cruised to a 3-0 win over cross-town rival North Carolina A&T, but fell to tournament champion Evansville, 3-0, in the nightcap.
- Junior Ari Lysacek was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts at the UNCG Invitational. Lysacek did a little bit of everything over the weekend as she recorded 59 assists, 25 kills and 19 digs in her three matches. Against Evansville, Lysacek nearly recorded a triple-double as she had 16 assists, nine kills and eight digs.
- In 2010, UNCG went 22-12 overall with a 9-7 record in the Southern Conference. The Spartans finished in a tie for second in the North Division and advanced all the way to the semifinals of the Southern Conference Championship.
- UNCG returns three starters and its libero from last season. Senior Ariel Newman returns as the starting outside hitter after leading the team with a 2.97 kills per set average a season ago. Setter Ari Lysacek also returns after posting 970 assists in 2010 and middle blocker Olivia Humphries is also back this year. Libero Kellie Orewiler was a Southern Conference All-Freshman Team selection a year ago and will look to solidify the Spartans defensively.
- Ariel Newman, Sarah Eldridge and Kellie Orewiler were all named team captains this season by their teammates. Newman and Eldridge are the lone seniors on the team this year, while Orewiler is a sophomore this season.
- UNCG has many returners this season who were ranked in the top-10 in numerous categories within the SoCon. Ariel Newman's 2.97 kills per set average ranked seventh in the league in 2010 and Kellie Orewiler's 3.60 digs per set average was good enough for ninth place. Ari Lysacek was fifth in the SoCon with a 7.89 assists per set average and was also seventh in service aces after posting 37 for a .30 per set average.
- This year's team will look to match the 2010's squad in tournaments this season as last year's team came away with two tournament titles in the first four weeks of the season. UNCG began the year by winning the Spartan Classic at Norfolk State University before winning its own tournament, the Spartan Spiketacular, just a few weeks later. It was the first time since 1995 that UNCG had won two tournaments in a single season.
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