ASHEVILLE, N.C. - The UNC Asheville volleyball season finishes the regular season on the road in state of Virginia with two key Big South Conference matches. The Bulldogs play at Big South leader Liberty tonight at 7 p.m., followed by a match at Radford Saturday at 4 p.m.
Both matches will be video-streamed and can be seen under the multimedia tag at www.uncabulldogs.com.
Asheville (11-17, 7-5 BSC) has won four of its last five matches and moved into fifth place in the league standings but just a game out of third place. The Bulldogs hope to move up in the final standings, but second-year head coach Frederico Santos just wants his team to keep playing good volleyball.
"We want to finish as high as we can but the main thing this weekend is to keep getting better and be peaking for next week's tournament," commented Santos. "No matter where we finish and who we play next week, it will be a very tough match. The league is as balanced as I've ever seen it and any match could go either way."
The Bulldogs finished their home season in spectacular fashion last weekend with a thrilling five-set win over Presbyterian College Friday night and then a 3-0 victory over Winthrop Saturday afternoon. Holly Shelton enjoyed two great matches. She totaled 33 kills with a .275 percentage and averaged 4.12 kills per set. She also tallied 17 digs and five blocks. In the 3-2 win against Presbyterian, she recorded 18 kills, 13 digs and three blocks. In Shelton's final home match as a Bulldog, she recorded another 15 kills, four digs and two blocks against Winthrop. Holly was named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Monday.
Asheville plays at Liberty (20-17, 10-2 BSC) on Friday. The Lady Flames need a win to secure the regular-season championship and top seed in next week's tourney. However, one of the two league losses suffered by Liberty came against the Bulldogs back in September when Asheville rallied for a five-set win.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs journey to Radford to battle the Highlanders (14-15, 4-8 BSC). RU is battling to make the eight-team field in next week's tournament and will need a win against Asheville to make that happen. The Highlanders downed the Bulldogs at Justice Center in three sets earlier this year. It marked the first three-set loss suffered by Asheville at home in four seasons.
"Both matches will be tough," stated Santos. "Liberty is playing very well right now, and Radford is always tough to beat at home. We'll need to be at our best in both matches."
Pairings for next week's Big South Tournament at Gardner-Webb will be announced by the league either Saturday night or on Sunday.