NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State volleyball team travels up the road to MEAC Northern Division rival UMES this weekend for the second tournament of the year. The Spartans will play four matches over a three-day span as part of the UMES Courtyard Classic in Princess Anne, Md.
NSU, searching for its first win of the year, competes against South Carolina State – members of the MEAC Southern Division – on Friday at 1 p.m. at the W.P. Hytche Athletic Center. The Spartans play American right after that at 3 p.m., followed by a contest against Navy on Saturday at 5 p.m. Then on Sunday, NSU closes out the tournament with a 2 p.m. matchup versus host UMES.
A live stats feed will be available at www.umeshawks.com for all four matches. The links are different for each match and can be found at the top of this page. In addition, the contest against UMES on Sunday will be streamed live through UMES’ YouTube page.
The contests against S.C. State and UMES are considered non-conference matches and will not count towards the teams’ MEAC records.
Norfolk State enters the weekend 0-4 after dropping all of its matches last weekend at the Virginia Tech/Radford Invitational. South Carolina State sits 0-5 on the year, with its closest match a 3-2 setback to SWAC member Mississippi Valley State at a tournament at Chattanooga. UMES, meanwhile, won all four of its matches last weekend against four different SWAC opponents.
American went 2-2 in the opening weekend, earning wins over Georgetown and George Mason but also falling to NSU’s Northern Division rival, Howard, by a 3-2 score. Navy, on the other hand, hosted another NSU MEAC Northern Division foe, Coppin State. The Midshipmen won, 3-1, and also defeated New Hampshire while dropping a 3-0 contest to Delaware to begin the season with a 2-1 record.
The Spartans have never faced American and own a 2-3 record against Navy, having last met in 2013.
The start of the season saw NSU’s offense flow through senior Jessica Johnson, who earned all-tournament honors last weekend at the Virginia Tech/Radford Invitational. She finished with 44 kills in four matches, averaging 3.67 per set. She had slightly more than twice as many kills as the next closest teammate.
Johnson needs just two more kills to reach 700 for her career. She currently sits sixth all-time at NSU and would thus become the sixth player to ever reach the 700-kill plateau.
After splitting time at setter in the first match, freshman Jill Aquino took over the role full time in the next three. She finished with 73 assists on the weekend, including an average of 7.56 per set during those last three contests.
Because of construction set to begin in mid-September on a new video board system in Joseph Echols Hall, NSU will be forced to play most of its home matches this season in Gill Gymnasium. The first six matches of the season will be contested in that secondary home of Spartan volleyball. The seventh and final home match of the year, against Hampton on Nov. 6 for Senior Day, is tentatively slated for Echols Hall.
NSU will play the third of its three tournaments of the year next weekend at Elon. The two-day Phoenix Classic will find the Spartans competing against Elon on Sept. 9 and Wofford and Gardner-Webb on Sept. 10.
Originally published at nsuspartans.com