Halley McKnight
Nick Sutton/Kinetic Stills

Spartans Host Howard Leading into Mid-Season Break

| By: Mike Bello, Asst. SID
NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State volleyball team will host Howard on Friday at Gill Gymnasium, the Spartans' only match for a nearly two and a half week period.
 
The MEAC Northern Division contest will begin at 6 p.m. HU, the three-time defending conference champion, will again come to town sitting in first place in the division.
 
NSU will have live stats as well as live video for Friday's match through the department's website.
 
The Spartans will host the Bison with a break coming up right after. Norfolk State does not compete the following weekend, with the next match set for Oct. 26. The Spartans last competed on Sunday (Oct. 7) on the road at Delaware State.
 
Howard won last year's MEAC tournament title despite not winning the regular season Northern Division title. The Bison enter Friday's match 4-0 in the conference as well as 11-9 overall. They are one of two schools in the entire league with a .500 or better overall record, and the only one – Northern or Southern Division – that has yet to lose a conference game.
 
The Spartans sit 1-3 in the league and 2-12 overall. They currently own fifth place in the division, behind Howard as well as Morgan State and Maryland Eastern Shore (2-1 each) and Coppin State (1-2). The Spartans did top Delaware State last Sunday, dropping the Hornets to 0-3. Only the top four teams in each division advance to the MEAC tournament.
 
In the South, North Carolina A&T (3-1), Florida A&M (2-1) and North Carolina Central (2-2) have the early advantage.
 
MEAC Rankings
The Spartans still sit fifth in the MEAC in service aces at 1.53 per set. They have also moved up in several other categories, including eighth in hitting percentage (.129) and ninth in assists (8.29) and kills (9.24).
 
Junior Halley McKnight continues to lead the league in service aces (0.44), with junior Bojana Bolozan ranking 10th (0.36). Bolozan also ranks eighth in hitting percentage at .235.
 
National as Well
The Spartans rank 53rd in aces per set, with 334 teams total in the mix. McKnight ranks 38th among individual players, with Bolozan at No. 118 nationally.
 
On Fire
Bolozan hit .737 with a career-high 16 kills in last Sunday's 3-0 win at Delaware State. It marked the second-highest hitting percentage in a match by an NSU player in the Division I era (minimum 10 kills). Only Heather Quinn, who hit .769 (10 kills on 13 swings) against UNCW on Sept. 7, 2007, has posted a better hitting percentage than Bolozan since 1997.
 
Over her last six matches, Bolozan has hit .333, .375 and .312 along with her .737 percentage, never once hitting below .176 during that time.
 
The Spartans hit .345 against Delaware State, their second-highest hitting percentage this season, as well as .247 in last Friday's match at Maryland Eastern Shore.
 
Season Highs
Against DSU, McKnight set season highs for assists (19) and digs (10), one of two double-doubles on the year for the Spartans. Junior Anna Rupertova tallied 12 kills and 11 assists against South Carolina State on Sept. 22 for the other.
 
Freshman Makenzy Johnson also had a season high for assists at Delaware State with 15, while sophomore Jannel Ezeagwu reached a new career high with eight kills while hitting .571.
 
Sophomore Taylor Eichelberger set a career high with 11 digs against Morgan State on Sept. 30. She then had 11 digs at both MDES and Delaware State last weekend.
 
Howard's Bio
The Bison have had to remake their lineup after the loss of several player the last few years. Jurnee Tipton (2.99 kills per set) and Marcelle Butler (2.46) are the new leaders on offense along with Courtney Dalton (2.34). Preseason All-MEAC honoree Tamia Dockery is back, averaging 9.88 assists per set.
 
The Bison rank first in the league in kills per set as well as second in assists, hitting percentage and opponent hitting percentage.
 
Fola Wilson carries the team on defense with 4.54 digs, although Dockery (2.28) and Tipton (2.21) also chip in. Kia Porter adds 1.91 kills and also leads the way with 0.81 blocks. She also leads the league in hitting percentage at .299. Wilson is first in digs, and Dockery is second in the MEAC in assists as well.
 
Up Next
The Spartans will be back on the road two weeks from now, making the Baltimore swing at Coppin State on Oct. 26 and at Morgan State on Oct. 28.
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