UNCG (1-3) at Patriot Invitational, Sept. 3-4, Fairfax, Va.
Video: George Mason match only (subscription required at GoMason.com)
- UNCG will return to regular season competition this weekend as it travels to George Mason for the Patriot Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. The Spartans will face High Point on Saturday at 11 a.m. and then face George Mason in the final match of the day at 7 p.m. They will return to the court on Sunday to face Navy at 11 a.m.
- This weekend's tournament will be extra special for coach Patrick Nicholas as he returns to his alma mater. Nicholas played for the Patriots where he helped the team to its first-ever top-10 national ranking. High Point coach Jason Oliver and George Mason coach Pat Kendrick also graduated from George Mason. Former Navy coach Mike Schwob is also a George Mason alum and was the coach of the Midshipmen when the tournament was originally scheduled.
- The Spartans stepped out of regular-season competition on Tuesday as they hosted Division II powerhouse Wingate for an exhibition match. UNCG fell 3-0 to the Bulldogs, who advanced to the Division II elite eight a season ago. Ariel Newman led the Spartan offense as she recorded a match-high 13 kills and added 14 digs for a double-double. Karrian Chambers nearly had a double-double of her own as she had nine kills and eight digs, while Kellie Orewiler added a match-high 22 digs.
- Last weekend, the Spartans went 1-3 in the opening weekend of the season 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 over the weekend. 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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