UMES HEADS SOUTH FOR THE TIGER INVITATIONAL
Maline Vaitai earned 34 kills last weekend at the SFC Terrier Invite.

Maline Vaitai earned 34 kills last weekend at the SFC Terrier Invite.

Aug. 30, 2012

Game Notes - Tiger Invitational

Listen Live on the Hawks Radio Network!

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- The Hawks volleyball team will migrate south to defend its undefeated start, playing a five-match weekend in Georgia. They will compete in the Tiger Invitational starting on Friday, hosted by MEAC foe Savannah State. On day one, UMES will face Southern Utah at 1 p.m. at the Tiger Arena, followed by New Mexico at 7 p.m. The next day, the Hawks take on UNC Asheville at 11 a.m., then Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. UMES will finish up with a Sunday 10 a.m. match against Savannah State.

IOSIA NAMED AVCA DIVISION I PLAYER OF THE WEEK
For the second time in her career, Saitaua Iosia was honored as the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I Player of the Week. She is the only player in MEAC history to earn this honor. The reigning MEAC Player of the Week earned three double doubles in the SFC Terrier Invitational, finishing with 64 kills with a .357 hitting percentage and 47 digs.

HAWKS WIN THE SFC TERRIER INVITATIONAL
UMES is the champion of the SFC Terrier Invitational after the Hawks swept the competition in the Big Apple, defeating NJIT, tournament host St. Francis (NY) and Radford, all in four sets, to begin the season at 3-0. Iosia led the Hawks with 64 kills and 47 digs, earning double doubles in all three matches. Ndidi Ibe and Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa each hit over .420 with at least 25 kills and 12 blocks each.

IOSIA NAMED PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Saitaua Iosia, the 2011 MEAC Rookie of the Year, was voted the MEAC Preseason Player of the Year by the conference in July. The sophomore led the MEAC with 472 kills and 4.77 points per set last season, finishing in the top 50 in Division I in 2011 in points, aces and kills per set. Iosia added 49 aces, 268 digs and 54 total blocks.

 

 

HAWKS PICKED TO FINISH FIRST IN MEAC NORTH
UMES has been picked to finish first in the MEAC Northern Division in the conference preseason poll, receiving 24 out of a possible 26 first-place votes. The Hawks have won the MEAC North all five years of Don Metil's tenure, going a combined 50-2 in MEAC regular season matches. Hampton was picked to finish second, while Florida A&M was predicted to take first in the MEAC South.

IOSIA, VICIC NAMED TO ALL-MEAC PRESEASON TEAM
UMES had two players, sophomores Saitaua Iosia and Jessie Vicic, selected to the 2012 MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team, more than any other school. Iosia led the conference in 2011 with 472 kills, adding 49 aces and 268 digs. Vicic led the MEAC in assists with 1,209, being the only player in the conference to average double digit assists with 10.42 per set. UMES has had at least two players named to the MEAC Volleyball Preseason Team the last three years.

IOSIA - RUSSELL HBCU FEMALE MVP OF THE YEAR
Saitaua Iosia was voted as the first-ever Russell HBCU Female MVP of the Year, selected by fans over Whiquitta Tobar of Alabama A&M, LaQwesha Gamble of Johnson C. Smith, Victoria Lewis of Chowan and Jamila McKinnis of Stillman. The awards, started for the 2011-12 season, showcase all HBCUs in the country and are sponsored by Russell Athletic, the official apparel provider of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

2011 IN REVIEW
UMES had its best year in school history, earning its first-ever MEAC Championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 24-7 record. After earning a share of the championship in the Bryant and Brown Invitationals, following up with being the outright champion of the UMES Hawk Invitational, the Maroon and Gray won all 12 matches in the conference regular season to win MEAC Northern Division for the fifth-consecutive year. After victories over North Carolina Central and Hampton in the first two rounds of the MEAC Tournament, the Hawks defeated Florida A&M in the championship for the title. UMES earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament, falling to 9-seed and eventual national champion UCLA in Los Angeles in the first round.

HEAVY HITTERS
UMES returns its five top players in kills from last season. Saitaua Iosia led the Hawks with 472 kills, Maline Vaitai was second with 317, Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa followed with 203, Ndidi Ibe notched 171, and Victoria Williams earned 133. The returning Hawks make up 91% (1314 out of 1447) of the team's kills from 2011.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:
Southern Utah, from the Big Sky Conference, has started the season 0-3 after a trio of defeats in the Utah State Tournament last weekend. The Thunderbirds are led by senior outside hitter Analaine Mailoto, who has 33 kills and 28 digs after earning over 500 kills last season. 6-2 junior Kyle Schofield has a team-high eight blocks, adding 17 kills.

Mountain West conference member New Mexico comes into the tournament at 3-1 after winning the Lobo Classic at home. The MVP of that tournament, redshirt sophomore hitter Chantelle Riddle, led the Lobos with 56 kills and 13 blocks over the weekend. 6-2 junior middle blocker Lexi Ross currently sports 28 kills, nine blocks and a team-high five aces.

UNC Asheville got swept at the Gamecock Invitational last weekend and currently stands at 0-4. The leader in kills for the Big South affiliate is senior outside hitter Holly Shelton, who has 44, also having nine blocks. Junior Anna Moore, a middle blocker that transferred from North Carolina State, sports a team-best 15 blocks with 29 kills.

Kennesaw State, from the Atlantic Sun Conference, is the other undefeated team in the tournament, going 3-0 to win the Mississippi State Tournament. Redshirt senior outside hitter Turea Jones has 49 kills and 62 digs for the Owls, while junior setter Sara Metroka, member of the Atlantic Sun All-Preseason Team has 137 assists and 14 kills.

Tournament host Savannah State comes into its home opener at 0-3 after playing in the UTA Hilton Invitational last weekend. Junior outside hitter Bryana Gadis sports a squad-best 13 kills and 27 digs. Freshman middle blocker Jasmine Waite and senior right side hitter Chikia Jones each high five blocks for the Tigers, with the former having nine kills.

STILL MIGHTY IN THE MIDDLE
At middle blocker, UMES returns two of the top four blockers in the MEAC last season who also were in the top four in hitting percentage. Senior Ndidi Ibe was just one of two MEAC players, the other being Shabree Roberson of South Carolina State, to earn triple digit kills and blocks last year, finishing with 171 kills with a .308 hitting percentage and 113 blocks. Despite missing a few matches due to injury, All-MEAC Second Team junior Kaveinga Lea'Aetoa racked up 206 kills, hitting .296 with 88 total blocks.

NO KANGAROOS IN AUSTRIA
Two players from Austria join the Hawks this season, outside hitter Bridget Ebster-Schwarzenberger and setter Elli Steiner, both bringing national team experience to the Maroon and Gray. Since the 2005 season, UMES volleyball has included European players from France, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland. In addition, UMES has two other international players: Jingqiao Li from China and Jessie Vicic from Canada.

METIL EARNS 200TH CAREER WIN
Don Metil won his 100th match at UMES on September 30th, 2011 with a shutout victory over Alabama State. He also earned his 200th victory as a head coach on November 18th, 2011 after a five-set win over North Carolina Central. With the Hawks, Metil sports a 120-39 record. Metil's first win in Division I came at Coppin State against UMES 3-2 on Sept. 25, 2005, while his first UMES win came against Coppin State 3-0 on Aug. 24, 2007. He has earned over 200 victories including stops at Notre Dame (MD), Lees-McRae and Coppin State.

VAITAI APPROACHING 1,000-KILL CLUB
Maline Vaitai stands at 758 kills in her career, just 242 away from becoming a member of the 1,000-kill club. The 2010 MEAC Rookie of the Year had 407 kills as a freshman and 317 in 2011, currently standing with 34. The UMES 1,000-kill club in the 25-point era includes Whitney Johnson (1,225) and Caylin Woodward (1,132).

UMES 2ND LONGEST ACTIVE HOME WINNING STREAK
Winning their last 24 matches in Princess Anne, the Hawks have the second-longest home winning streak in Division I, trailing only Texas. Their last loss in the Hytche Athletic Center came on Sept. 26, 2009 with a 3-0 defeat from Sacred Heart.

Team Current Home Win Streak (as of 8/29)
1- Texas 33
2- UMES 24
3- Furman 15

UMES MATCHES TO AIR ON WGOP
WGOP 540 AM and 100.7 FM returns as the flagship station of Hawks volleyball and will air all matches live on the radio this year. Dave Vatz returns for his third season with UMES and will provide play-by-play for each match, with WGOP producers Suzy Rummel and Steve Pettit operating from the Pocomoke City studio. Fans can listen online on umeshawks.com.

TIGER INVITATIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, August 31st
Kennesaw State @ Savannah State 9:00 a.m.
New Mexico vs. UNC Asheville 11:00 a.m.
UMES vs. Southern Utah 1:00 p.m.
UNC Asheville @ Savannah State 3:00 p.m.
Kennesaw State vs. Southern Utah 5:00 p.m.
UMES vs. New Mexico 7:00 p.m.

Saturday, September 1st
Southern Utah @ Savannah State 9:00 a.m.
UMES vs. UNC Asheville 11:00 a.m.
Kennesaw State vs. New Mexico 1:00 p.m.
Southern Utah vs. UNC Asheville 3:00 p.m.
UMES vs. Kennesaw State 5:00 p.m.
New Mexico @ Savannah State 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, September 2nd
UMES @ Savannah State 10:00 a.m.