UNCG begins SoCon action by hosting Samford, Chattanooga
UNCG (12-3) vs. Samford (6-8), Chattanooga (4-11), Sept. 24 & 25, 5 p.m. & 5 p.m., Fleming Gymnasium
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- UNCG will kick off the Southern Conference portion of its schedule this weekend as the Spartans host Samford and Chattanooga this weekend in Fleming Gymnasium. The Spartans will have their conference-opener on Friday at 5 p.m. against Samford before facing Chattanooga on Saturday at 5 p.m.
- Last weekend, the Spartans hosted Gardner-Webb, Morgan State and Norfolk State for the Spartan Spiketacular. UNCG began its weekend with a 3-0 sweep of Morgan State on Friday night. On Saturday, the Spartan defeated Norfolk State, 3-1, in the first match of the day before taking down Gardner-Webb, 3-1. With its perfect weekend, UNCG won the Spartan Spiketacular team title.
- At the Spartan Spiketacular, junior Ariel Newman was tabbed as the Tournament MVP. Sophomore Olivia Humphries and senior Caley Redden were also named to the All-Tournament team. Freshman Kellie Orewiler was selected as the Libero of the Tournament by the head coaches.
- The team title at the Spartan Spiketacular was the second tournament that UNCG has won this season after winning the Spartan Classic earlier this season. It marked the first time since 1995 that UNCG has won two tournaments in one season. That year, the Spartans won the UNCG Fall Tournament and the College of Charleston Invite.
- The Spartans are just 1-3 all-time against Samford and 5-23 against Chattanooga in the series. Last season, the Spartans were swept by Samford in the two matches between the schools and split with Chattanooga. Samford won the first match in Birmingham, Ala., 3-1, before defeating UNCG in Fleming Gymnasium in five sets. The Spartans fell to Chattanooga on the road in the first meeting, 3-0, but rebounded at home to sweep the Mocs, 3-0, later in the year.
- Senior Kayren Finney is off to a great start this season as she currently leads the Southern Conference in blocks. She currently has 54 blocks this season for a 1.46 blocks per set average. Her 1.46 blocks/set average also ranks her 10th nationally this week. Ari Lysacek also shows up as she leads the league in service aces per set. She has a league-high 21 aces for a 0.42 aces/set average. Also, Caley Redden is ninth in the SoCon in digs with 3.25 digs/set and Olivia Humphries is eighth in hitting percentage at .335.
- The Spartans began the 2010 season with an impressive 8-1 record over their first nine matches. That marked the best start in school history since UNCG began the 1994 season 9-1.
- The Spartans kicked off their 2010 season by claiming the Spartan Classic title in Norfolk, Va. On Friday, UNCG swept Navy, 3-0, to begin the tournament before defeating Kent State, 3-1. UNCG came back on Saturday and beat host Norfolk State in five sets and then dismantled Providence, 3-1.
- In addition to winning the Spartan Classic, sophomore Olivia Humphries and junior Ariel Newman earned all-tournament honors. Humphries won the tournament's Most Outstanding Player award, as well.
- UNCG returns eight players, including four starters, from the 2009 squad that went 17-14 overall and 9-7 in the Southern Conference. The Spartans finished the season tied for third in the North Division and missed making the postseason by one game.
- Before the season, the Spartans were tabbed to finish in fourth place in the North Division by the head coaches in the SoCon. Samford was picked to win the North Division, while reigning SoCon Tournament Champion College of Charleston was chosen to claim the South Division.
- The Spartans welcome seven newcomers to the program this year. Sarah Eldridge comes in as a junior after transferring from a successful two years at Cowley County Community College, while Karrian Chambers, Samantha Deutchman, Lara Keyes, Kellie Orewiler, Karen Stedman and Savannah Tomlinson enter as freshman.
- The Spartans lost three seniors to graduation at the completion of the 2009 season, including former libero Catherine Hanners. Upon the completion of the season, she was named the SoCon Libero of the Year, as well as earning second-team All-SoCon honors.
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