A&T Hosts Rival NCCU on Friday
North Carolina A&T Aggies (4-20, 3-2) vs. North Carolina Central (2-21, 2-3)
Date: Friday, Oct. 25 vs. North Carolina Central, 7 p.m.
Facility: Moore Gymnasium
Probable Starters: MB Aleena McDaniel (5-10, Sophomore, 2.65kills/set), RS Maris Kellar (5-8 Sophomore, 1.04 kills/set), S Liz Martino (5-7, Freshman, 5.56 assists/set), OH Brooke Stamnes (5-9, Sophomore, 2.53 kills/set), MH Te'Borah Hawkins-Hollingsworth (6-0, Sophomore, 1.55 kills/set) and OH Jillian Nobles (6-0 Freshman, 1.59 kills/set)
Aggies Overview: The North Carolina A&T volleyball team returns back to MEAC action after dropping a 3-0 road decision to UNC Asheville last week. The Aggies are currently on a two-match losing streak and will look to snap that streak on Friday. A win will go a long way in helping the Aggies clinch their first MEAC tournament berth in six years. Freshman Jillian Nobles had her best match of the season in the Aggies loss to UNCA, recording a career-high 12 kills. Nobles also tabbed a career-high .455 hitting percentage. Martino has been A&T’s playmaker this season and leads the team in assists (5.56/set), which is 10th in the league. The Aggies are currently tied second in the MEAC Southern Division with Bethune-Cookman.
Match Overview: The last time these two teams faced each other, A&T came out on top with a compelling 3-1 (26-24, 31-29, 19-25, 25-8) victory at McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. Both teams are now in a position to jockey for the top spot out of the south with Florida A&M ineligible for postseason play. NCCU was on a two-match winning streak, but saw it come to an end against Coppin State after it faced a 3-1 setback last week. The Eagles have been led by Da’sha Brown this season who has averaged 2.56 kills per set. Brown has had help from Kalin Russell (2.15), Kelsey Murphy (1.67), and Ashley McCarthy (1.59) who have all tabbed over 100 kills. Russell and McCarthy have helped the Eagles become a solid defensive team. NCCU is fifth in the MEAC in blocks (1.77) in the MEAC. Russell has recorded 66 blocks and McCarthy has handed down 59.
Potential Star: If Nobles can deliver another exciting performance like she did in the Aggies last match, she can help be a game-changer on Friday. Nobles is third on the team in kills (111).
News & Notes:
- In their last meeting, four players recorded double-doubles. Stamnes (16 kills, 17 digs) and McDaniel (13 kills, 16 digs) led the Aggies. McCarthy (14 kills, 10 digs) and Russell (10 kills, 13 digs) headed the Eagles.
- The Aggies recorded 58 kills against NCCU, the most over any opponent in a four-set match this season.
- Ashley Johnson is currently sixth in the MEAC in digs, averaging 3.73 digs per set. Stamnes is eighth in service aces (0.33/set).
From the Coach
“We’re expecting a really exciting match again. We’re excited about playing at home and we’re hoping for a big crowd to come out and support us against the Eagles. Right now at this point, the conference is so closely balanced that every win is critical. We’re looking forward to competing well and coming out with a win to increase our chances of getting to the MEAC championship. We’re just taking it one match at a time. ” A&T head volleyball coach Hal Clifton