NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk State will compete in its third and last regular season tournament this weekend when the Spartan volleyball team travels to Elon for three matches as part of the Phoenix Classic.
NSU and the host Phoenix will begin the tournament on Friday at 2 p.m. at Alumni Gym. The Spartans also play Wofford on Saturday at 9 a.m. and then Gardner-Webb later in the day at 2 p.m. before heading home.
Elon will have live stats for each match of the tournament, with a different link each time. Those links are located at the top of this page. The Phoenix will also provide a live video stream for their match with NSU.
The Spartans are looking to improve upon their 1-7 record before they enter conference play. Elon carries the best record into the tournament at 5-2, which includes a 3-0 sweep of North Carolina A&T, a MEAC Southern Division opponent NSU will meet twice later this season. Kam Terry (4.00 kills per set), Jaudon Maddie (4.45 digs) and Ally Karle (1.23 blocks) have played big roles for Elon.
Gardner-Webb ran its record to 4-2 after defeating South Carolina State on Tuesday, 3-0. NSU also swept S.C. State, another Southern Division team, last weekend at UMES. NSU’s scores in its win (25-19, 25-18, 25-22) were nearly identical to Gardner-Webb’s scores in its win over S.C. State (25-19, 25-22, 25-17). Gardner-Webb has gotten big performances out of Emma Milstead (5.46 digs), while Taylor Lillard and Nicole Celarek have combined for more than five kills per set to lead the offense.
Wofford owns a 3-4 mark, which includes a 3-2 win over William & Mary and a 3-2 loss to Clemson. The Terriers sport a more balanced offense with three players averaging between 2.11 and 2.52 kills per set.
Senior Jessica Johnson currently leads the MEAC with 3.67 kills per set, ahead of Howard’s Khaila Donaldson, who sits second at 3.30. Johnson is also second in points per set at 3.96. The only other Spartan player ranked in the top 10 is freshman Jill Aquino, who stands seventh in assists (6.50).
NSU as a team ranks highest in hitting percentage at fourth (.121). The Spartans also find themselves fifth in service aces (1.33), sixth in assists (8.75) and kills (9.33), seventh in digs (11.50), and ninth in opponent hitting percentage (.312) and blocks (1.04).
As a team, NSU has not led the league in a stat since 2001 and has not had an individual category leader since 2005 when Karina Moore averaged 1.02 blocks per set.
Johnson on the Move
After tallying 44 kills over the first weekend of the season, Johnson added exactly 44 more last weekend at UMES. She now has 742 for her career, which puts her fifth all-time at NSU. She needs 45 more to pass Yolanda Roberts for the next spot on the list and then another 22 after that to reach third.
Both Johnson and senior Alex Irizarry also now rank in the top 15 in career digs.
NSU has never defeated Elon (0-6) or Wofford (0-4) in its history. The Spartans own a 1-3 record against Gardner-Webb, having defeated the Bulldogs in 2010 in a tournament at UNC Greensboro.
NSU will not compete next weekend. Instead, the Spartans open up MEAC play in two weeks with a trip to Coppin State and Morgan State on Sept. 23 and 25, respectively.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com