ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The UNC Asheville volleyball hits the road this weekend as the Bulldogs participate in the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire UNCW Classic. Asheville faces host UNC Wilmington on Friday at 7:30 p.m. before taking on Mercer and North Carolina A&T on Saturday.
Asheville (5-3) hopes to have a little better weekend then it did last weekend in Chattanooga. The Bulldogs went 1-3 with a win over Chattanooga but close 3-1 losses to Tennessee, UT-Martin and Charlotte. Asheville came very close to winning sets against all three teams that would have put the Bulldogs into a fifth set.
“We didn’t play badly last weekend but some of our mistakes came at key times against some very good opponents,” commented Bulldog coach Frederico Santos. “We did a nice job battling the whole weekend but we needed to play with a little more consistency. I think our team saw how close we were to beating some good teams if we could have played just a little better. We’re making progress and this weekend will be another challenge.”
The five-team tournament will see Asheville play three opponents. The Bulldogs take on UNC Wilmington first. The Seahawks are 4-2 on the year and opened the season by winning the Kristen Dickmann tournament at Navy with three easy wins. They went 1-2 last weekend at a tournament at Florida International.
“This is UNC Wilmington’s home opener, and they’re playing quite well,” admitted Santos. “We’ll have to have our A game on to have a chance at winning.”
Asheville takes on Mercer at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a match with North Carolina A&T at 5 p.m. Both Mercer and A&T are 1-6 on the season.
“Mercer and North Carolina A&T have faced tough schedules, so their records are very deceiving” said Santos. “We’ll have our hands full with both teams on Saturday.”
The Bulldogs have a 16-8 series advantage against UNCW. The teams have not played since Aug. 29, 2009 when the Seahawks downed the Bulldogs 3-1 in Wilmington. Asheville holds an 8-3 series advantage over Mercer and defeated the Bears in three sets in the 2010 season. The Blue & White lead the all-time series with North Carolina A&T 10-5 and defeated the Aggies last year on the road in three sets.
Asheville’s 5-3 start is its best start since the 2009 season when it began the year 6-2.
Sophomore outside hitter Christine Lakatos leads the Bulldogs in kills with a 3.2 per set average and that’s second best in the Big South.
Anna Moore is second in the Big South in blocks (1.4), while Meredith Foster is fifth (1.1).
Asheville is 2-0 on the road this year with wins at Western Carolina and Chattanooga.
Setter Katie Davis is second in the Big South in assists (9.8).
Libero Rachel Wells is fifth in the Big South in service aces (.52) and digs (5.1).
The Bulldogs will play North Carolina A&T at home later this season on Oct. 17.
Head Coach Frederico Santos needs two wins this weekend to reach 80 in his career.
Asheville has won six consecutive five-set matches dating back to last season.