North Carolina A&T (0-4) at Aggie-Spartan Invitational
Dates: Sept. 6 vs. Alabama State, 7 p.m.; Sept. 7 vs. UNC-Greensboro, 11 a.m.; Sept. 7 vs. Murray State, 4 p.m.
Facility: Moore Gymnasium
Probable Starters: MB Aleena McDaniel (5-10, Sophomore, 2.14 kills/set), RS Maris Kellar (5-8 Sophomore, 0.42 blocks/set), S Liz Martino (5-7, Freshman, 5.29 assists/set), OH Brooke Stamnes (5-9, Sophomore, 2.15 kills/set), MB Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth (6-0, Sophomore, 0.86 blocks/set) and OH Jillian Nobles (6-0 Freshman, 1.15 kills/set)
Aggies Overview: After being on the road for four consecutive matches, the Aggies are set to open their home schedule, Friday night. North Carolina A&T went down to the wire with Winthrop on Tuesday in a dueling five set match but was unable to walk away with a win. In the loss, the youthful Aggies showed great promise and saw contributions from several players. Sophomore Brooke Stamnes, who has led A&T in kills in two of its four matches this year, finished with a season-high 13 on Tuesday. Aleena McDaniel’s versatile performance so far has been a key factor for the Aggies. Her all-around game includes solid defense, along with powerful stretches on offense has helped point A&T in the right direction. The duo of Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth and Maris Kellar performed well against Winthrop on the front row. Hawkins-Hollingsworth recorded a game-high six blocks and Kellar added five in the Aggies best blocking display of the season.
Tournament Overview: Alabama State will be looking to regain their momentum at the Aggie-Spartan Invitational. The Jackets are 1-3 after competing at the University of Central Florida tournament in Orlando. Alabama State won their season-opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. All four of the Jackets’ matches have been decided by three sets. Alabama State’s offense is led by Amber Bennett who has tallied 36 kills which is second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Murray State (1-2) opened its season at the North Carolina Central University Invitational. After dropping their first two matches to Evansville and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) foe Hampton, the Racers topped NCCU 3-0. Against NCCU, Alyssa Lelm led Murray State with a match-high 11 kills. Her .733 kill percentage tied her for third all-time in MSU history (with at least 15 attempts). Following the tournament, Lelm was named to the all-tournament team totaling 28 kills, 10 digs, four blocks and two service aces. UNC-Greensboro went 2-1 at the Deacon Individual last weekend. The Spartans defeated East Tennessee State and East Carolina before falling to Wake Forest in the title game. Senior Olivia Humphries and junior Kelsey Sidney were named to the all-tournament team. Humphries tallied 45 kills during the tournament. Last season, A&T fell 3-0 to UNCG at the Aggie-Spartan Invitational.
Potential Star: If McDaniel continues to perform consistently, she will be one of the Aggies biggest threats this season. The sophomore notched her first double-double of the season with 15 digs and 10 kills at Winthrop. It was her third career double-double.
News & Notes:
- In the last tournament, McDaniel earned all-tournament honors after finishing with 20 kills, 26 digs, and six blocks.
- The Aggies registered a match-high 39 kills in their last game.
- Sophomore Ashley Johnson is currently fourth in the MEAC in digs, averaging 3.78 digs per set.
From the Coach
“I’m looking for everyone to step up this weekend. The good thing about our team is that we’re very-well balanced. We’re going to need a total team effort to be competitive.”
A&T head volleyball coach Hal Clifton