UNC Asheville Volleyball hosts Invitational; Drops two matches, wins one.

Seth Maile, [email protected], Photographer

The UNC Asheville Volleyball team kicked off its 2022-2023 campaign last weekend as they hosted the UNC Asheville invitational. 

The invitational welcomed four other universities to the Justice Center for their first ever visits. North Alabama, Queens, Stonehill and Morehead St all joined UNCA in the five team field. 

The invitational spanned seven matches over two days. 

Day one began early Friday morning as The Bulldogs faced off against the Skyhawks of Stonehill College. For the Skyhawks, this match was notably their first ever Division I match as they were promoted this summer. UNCA dominated the match from start to finish and won three sets to zero. 

The second match of the day saw the reigning Ohio Valley Champions, Morehead St, face off against another Division I newbie, Queens University from Charlotte, North Carolina. Morehead St met expectations and defeated Queens three sets to zero. 

North Alabama then went on to face Stonehill College, and defeated them three sets to zero. 

Day one was capped off by another dominating performance from the Morehead St Eagles, as they took down UNCA three sets to zero. All four matches of the day saw a three sets to zero result. 

UNCA showed promising play to start their season after being given the 7th spot in the Big South Preseason poll. Returners Lexy Cole and Kat Cruser started where they left off last season, leading the Bulldogs offensively, combining for 16 kills on day one alone. 

Day two began with another blowout, as Queen’s University picked up their first ever Division I win against Stonehill College, who has yet to secure a victory since their recent promotion. Stonehill College put up an admirable fight in the first set, but gradually declined as they dropped the next two sets. 

Late on Saturday night, UNCA played their final match of the weekend against Queen’s University. After going down early and eventually fighting back in the third set, Asheville fell three sets to one. The match was the most hard fought of the tournament, being the only one that reached a fourth set. 

This invitational proved a good learning experience for UNCA’s incoming freshmen, while also giving returners time to warm up before conference play begins. 

UNCA’s next match is on, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. against local rival Western Carolina University. The last time these two squads met was a little over a year ago as the Bulldogs took down WCU three sets to one. The game takes place at the Justice Center on UNCA’s campus.