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UNCW and middle blocker Meredith Peacock made their first CAA Championship since 2000.

2013 CAA Volleyball Championship Preview

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 11/21/2013
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RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 21, 2013) – The 2013 CAA Volleyball championship gets underway on Friday at the North Charleston Convention Center in Charleston, S.C. The six-team field will compete for the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship.

Quarterfinal action kicks off on Friday, Nov. 22 as #5 Hofstra (16-14, 6-8) faces #4 James Madison (13-14, 8-6) at 4:00 p.m., followed by #6 William & Mary (11-20, 6-8) against #3 UNCW (19-9, 8-6) at 7:00 p.m.

The winner of the JMU/Hofstra match advances to Saturday's semifinals to face tournament host and top-seeded College of Charleston (23-5, 13-1) at 1:00 p.m. Northeastern (18-10, 10-4), which also received a bye as the #2 seed, meets the William & Mary/UNCW winner at 4:00 p.m.

The CAA title match will be played at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24.

The CAA Volleyball Championship has produced eight different champions over its 28-year history, including three squads in this year’s field. James Madison and Hofstra – the defending tournament champion -- have each won two league titles, while William & Mary has won eight.

UNCW makes its first appearance in CAA postseason play since 2000 and 17th overall, though the program has never won the title. Northeastern, which was the only team to defeat CofC in league play this season, looks to lift the CAA trophy for the first time this weekend. The Huskies finished runner-up in 2008 and 2010. CofC fared well in its first season in the CAA and proved why it was chosen as the preseason favorite. The Cougars, who captured the Southern Conference title in 2012, only fell once in league play this fall.

College of Charleston is no stranger to postseason success, having won 13 straight conference regular season or tournament championships (dating back to the Cougars’ time in the SoCon), a streak which currently ranks second in the nation. Charleston is led offensively by Darcy Dorton and Sloane White, who are both complemented by talented setters Kallie McKown and Taeler Davis. Dorton ranks second in the CAA in kills per set (3.61), while White leads the Cougars and ranks third in the league with a .310 hitting percentage. McKown and Davis played a hand in CofC’s conference-leading attack percentage (.261) and kills average (14.01 k/s) and have totaled 566 and 544 assists, respectively, this season.

Second-seeded Northeastern will look to 2012 CAA Player of the Year Kelly Bacon and junior libero Natalia Skiba, one of the league’s top defensive weapons, to try for a postseason push. NU started league play with a rare home loss to CofC, then rattled off seven straight wins – including a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in Charleston on Nov. 10 -- and enters the weekend winners in 11 of their last 14 matches. Bacon (3.46 k/s, 3.87 pts/s) is joined by steady freshman Jamie Bredahl, who chips in 2.67 points and 5.10 assists per set. Skiba currently ranks eighth in Division I with 5.63 digs per set.

Much of UNCW’s success this season has related to its play on the defensive side of the ball. The Seahawks have two players that have registered over 100 blocks on the season, Meredith Peacock (140) and Courtney Porter (104), and rank 14th in Division I and first in the CAA with 2.82 blocks per set. A late-season run which included eight wins over the last 11 matches enabled UNCW to enter the championship as one of the most dangerous squads. Senior Christi Laite has been extremely consistent, leading the ‘Hawks in hitting percentage (.272) and kills (340, 3.24 per set), while ranking third in blocks (87).

JMU arguably has some of the best depth in the league, featuring a talented group of players that bring plenty of skills to the table. Freshman Janey Goodman earned CAA weekly rookie honors three times this season and leads the Dukes with 2.99 kills per set. Lizzy Briones is a blocking machine, having totaled 151 over 108 sets (1.40 per) thus far. Keep an eye on Kristi Richardson, who led the CAA through the regular season with 8.27 assists per set.

Hofstra junior Kelsie Wills caused plenty of problems for opposing defenders this season, ranking first in the CAA in kills and points. She was the only player to finish the regular season with over 400 kills, ending with 478, and totaled over 100 points more than the next closest player in the points category, registering 537. The Pride can also rely on sophomore setter Kaitlyn Krause (647 assists) and freshman setter Hannah Klemm (561 assists) offensively, while Nuria Lopes da Silva averages 1.00 blocks per set.

The Tribe may hold the #6 seed in the championship, but have the ability to compete with anyone. William & Mary enters the weekend having won four of its last seven matches and is used to making teams battle till the end. Over 125 sets this season, the Tribe have played in 12 matches that have been decided in five sets. Dessi Koleva (2.97 k/s, 3.17 d/s) and Carolyn Albright (129 blocks, 1.08 p/s) are two players coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton can depend on if the match goes the extra lengths.

 

CAA VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP (NORTH CHARLESTON ARENA – CHARLESTON, S.C.)

 

Friday, Nov. 22 - Quarterfinals

#5 Hofstra vs. #4 James Madison – 4:00 p.m.

#6 William & Mary vs. #3 UNCW – 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 23 - Semifinals

Game 1 winner at #1 College of Charleston – 1:00 p.m.

Game 2 winner vs. #2 Northeastern – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 24 – Championship Title Game

Game 3 winner versus Game 4 winner – 1:00 p.m.

Video for the quarterfinal, semifinal and championship match of the CAA Volleyball Championship will be carried live for free in high definition on CAA.TV and CAA's iPad app. A free login will be required to view the games via CAA.TV on a computer or using the CAA's iPad app. The same free login link will be provided accordingly on the Volleyball #CAAChamps Central page.

Tickets for the event will be sold on-site at the North Charleston Convention Center. $10 for adults and individuals and $5 for youth under 17. Tickets are valid for both sessions on Friday and Saturday. An All-Tournament pass can be purchased for $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Any student with valid ID from a CAA institution will be admitted free of charge.

Further details about the tournament, including directions to the North Charleston Convention Center, can be found on the volleyball #CAAChamps Central page.

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