Volleyball Goes South to Move Up In MEAC Standings
North Carolina A&T (6-9, 1-1 MEAC) vs. S.C. State (1-15, 1-0 MEAC)
Date: Friday, Oct. 5
Time: 6 p.m.
Facility: S-H-M Memorial Center
North Carolina A&T vs. Savannah State (1-13, 0-1 MEAC)
Date: Sunday, Oct. 7
Time: 1 p.m.
Facility: Tiger Arena
@ncatvolleyball: N.C. A&T improved split with their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foes from Florida last week losing to the Florida A&M Rattlers in four before sweeping the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats for the first time in 12 years. N.C. A&T now heads south to try to better position themselves in the MEAC Southern Division standings with matches in Orangeburg, S.C. and Savannah, Ga. The Aggies had to play without versatile sophomore standout Edie Brewer against the Rattlers, but she did return to make a difference against the Wildcats. She made a difference from the setter position and the front row for the Aggies. Brewer posted 36 assists, seven digs, three blocks and three kills. Sophomore Courteney Pitt took the Aggies over the top against the Wildcats with 11 kills in the third and deciding set. N.C. A&T’s defense continues to be the best in the MEAC. The Aggies lead the league in opponent hitting percentage allowing teams to hit just .174 against them. Freshman libero Andrea Laboy-Rivera plays a big role in the ranking. She is second in the MEAC in digs per set (4.39).
THE S.C. STATE BULLDOGS: S.C. State lost its first 13 matches before getting their first win of the season by knocking off conference opponent Savannah State 3-0. The Bulldogs last opponent was a common opponent with N.C. A&T, the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs. GWU beat S.C. State in three sets, while the Aggies lost to GWU in four. S.C. State’s 15 losses have all been sweeps except a four-set loss to Jackson State (Aug. 24) and a four-set loss to Charleston Southern (Aug. 30). Kyra Marshall is one of the best servers in the conference ranking eighth in the league with 0.38 service aces per set. Alexus Holt is the only Bulldogs averaging better than 2.0 kills per set. Holt leads the team with 2.38 kills per set. T’Meyah Burgess leads the team in assists per set (3.18). She shares the assists duties with Marshall who is averaging 2.94 assists per set.
THE SAVANNAH STATE TIGERS: Savannah State is in its final season with the MEAC. The Tigers have not been successful in the volleyball in the MEAC. SSU is just 3-66 in the MEAC since 2011. This season the Tigers opened the conference season with a three-set loss to S.C. State. The Tigers do have a win over a MEAC school this season, however. The Tigers defeated Norfolk State 3-0 on Sept. 8. SSU also took USC Upstate to five sets before losing. Their most recent match against Georgia Southern, the Tigers lost in four sets. SSU shares their offensive attack. Oneillia Fuller leads the team in kills per set (1.74) but Tyran Chenault (1.72) and Noria Ceballos Plaza (1.52) are not too far behind. Ashley Jordan and Selma Gonzalez share the setting responsibilities with Jordan averaging 3.68 assists per set and Gonzalez averaging 3.38 per set.
Stepping Up: Courteney Pitt was terrific in last week’s matches for the Aggies, but junior Leila Haynesworth was also an offensive powerhouse for the Aggies. Haynesworth has double-figure kills in three of her last four matches including 13 against Florida A&M and 12 against B-CU. She also ha a .214 hitting percentage against B-CU.
News & Notes:
- N.C. A&T has won all 22 matches it has played against Savannah State dating back to 2002. In 19 of those 22 matches, the Aggies have swept the Tigers including two 3-0 wins last season.
- The Aggies lead the all-time series with S.C. State 35-10. N.C. A&T has won the last seven meetings against the Bulldogs including two 3-0 wins over SCSU a year ago. The Bulldogs last win over N.C. A&T was a four-set victory in 2013. The Aggies are 9-4 against S.C. State in the eight-year Hal Clifton era.
- The Aggies got more weekly honors this week with Pitt being named co-player of the week in the MEAC, while Laboy-Rivera earned defensive specialist of the week honors. It was Pitt’s third weekly honor of the season. Laboy-Rivera, Brewer (setter of the week) and Lily Walton (rookie of the week) have one weekly honor apiece.
- Pitt leads the MEAC in kills per set (4.04) and points per set (4.51) with 218 kills, 15 service aces and 18 blocks.