EAST GREENSBORO – North Carolina A&T begins the 2019 season in Rock Hill, S.C., for the Cristi Curtis Volleyball Invitational this weekend hosted by Winthrop University.
The Aggies start the tournament with Morehead State 4 p.m., Friday and finish with two matches Saturday with Winthrop at 1 p.m., and Davidson at 4 p.m.
Last weekend, the Aggies hosted Campbell for an exhibition match in Moore Gymnasium and looked impressive. Sophomore middle blocker Fatimah Shabazz led the way for the Aggies with 15 kills while junior setter Edie Brewer recorded a double-double with a match-high 29 assists and added 11 digs.
Earlier this month, the Aggies were voted to finish third with seven first-place votes and 87 points in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Southern Division by the coaches and sports information directors, one point behind Florida A&M (10 first-place votes) and Bethune-Cookman (five first-place votes).
The Aggies return all, but two players from last season’s team that reached the MEAC final for the first time in 13 years. N.C. A&T lost setter Megan Wiggins and middle blocker Lily Walton.
Returning to the Aggies this season is 2019 MEAC preseason team member junior outside hitter Courteney Pitt, who led the MEAC last season with 3.96 kills per set, while sophomore libero Andrea Laboy-Rivera was second in the conference with an average of 4.49 digs in her freshman season.
Junior setter Edie Brewer returns after ranking sixth in the conference last season with 7.51 assists per set and averaging 1.71 kills, 2.08 digs and 0.44 blocks. Senior outside hitter Lelia Haynesworth was second on the team with 2.41 kills per set.
Morehead State went 21-10 last season including an 11-5 Ohio Valley Conference record. Last season, Olivia Lohmeier led the team with 3.69 kills per set. Chandler Clark led the team in assists at 10.81 assists per set and Allison Whitten with 3.90 digs per set.
Davidson went 12-13 including a 5-9 Atlantic 10 conference record last season. The Wildcats lost Ciera Cockrell with a team-high 2.83 kills per set and Mason Rooney with a team-leading 5.05 assists per set, but Josie Treadwell returns averaging a team-high 4.53 digs.
Winthrop went 16-14 overall and 11-5 in the Big South Conference last season. The Eagles lost Lourdes Rosario with a team-high 2.77 kills per set and Carlie Skelton with a team-best 4.57 digs per set but return setter Siani Yamaguchi with a team-high 10.40 assists per set.
The Aggies stay in the Carolinas with a trip to Asheville for the UNC Asheville Invitational next weekend. N.C. A&T starts the tournament against Dartmouth on Friday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m., UNC Asheville on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 12:30 p.m. and Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 4 p.m.