Asheville (16-10, 8-4 BSC) has won four consecutive matches and moved into third place in the Big South Conference standings. The Bulldogs are a half-game in front of Winthrop. The Eagles defeated Asheville in four sets earlier this year. Winthrop (11-13, 8-5 BSC) comes in on a roll after a 3-0 victory over league-leading Liberty Tuesday night. The Bulldogs picked up a 3-0 win on Tuesday against Presbyterian College at home.
"We've done a good job getting some wins at home and have put ourselves in a position to finish in the upper half of the league standings but we have to keep winning," declared Asheville coach Julie Torbett. "We got the job done against Presbyterian College on Tuesday but we have two big challenges this weekend.
"Winthrop had a great win against Liberty earlier in the week," added Torbett. "They have a good club and are always tough to beat. We had a good battle with them earlier this year but we'll have to play better on Friday to have a chance at winning."
Charleston Southern (11-17, 5-8 BSC) also picked up a big victory in its last match. They downed Coastal Carolina in three sets Tuesday night. The Bulldogs edged the Lady Bucs in Charleston earlier this year in five tough sets that had Asheville winning 15-12 in the fifth set. Going five sets is a possibility on Saturday as the teams have gone five sets the last five times they've played. Asheville has won three of those five-setters with CSU winning the other two matches. Saturday's match is also senior day as the Bulldogs will honor seniors' Kelsey Benorden, Jenna Dover and Rachel Guinane after the game.
"We always have great matches with Charleston Southern," admitted Torbett. "They have a good team this season and gave us everything we wanted in Charleston last month. We're going to have a tough match with Winthrop on Friday and then turn around and play another tough match on Saturday. However, that's the way it's going to be in the Big South Conference Tournament so this should prepare us."
UNC Asheville is 6-1 at home this season and 14-3 over the past two years...Cindi Miller was named Big South Player of the Week for the second time this season on Monday...Freshman Alex Stewart was named Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for the first time this year...Stewart has a season-high 40 digs vs. Radford on Saturday...the Bulldogs are 3-1 in five-set matches this season and have won three straight, all in league play...Asheville head coach Julie Torbett has 301 career wins.