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Davidson Volleyball to Open 2021 Fall Season with Wildcat Classic

by | Aug 26, 2021

Coach Chris Willis talks with his team (in 2019) after their win against Presbyterian.


DAVIDSON, N.C. — The Davidson College volleyball team will raise the curtain on the 2021 fall season, just five months after concluding the abbreviated 2020-21 spring campaign with a trio of matches at its very own Wildcat Classic this weekend. The ‘Cats will open against N.C. Central at 7 p.m. EST on Friday night, before matching up with UNC Asheville and Western Carolina on Saturday.

Live stats for all six matches of the tournament will be available, with all Davidson matches broadcasted through ESPN+. For complete coverage, visit

Davidson will play host to three familiar in-state opponents in this year’s Wildcat Classic, combining for a 38-28 all-time record against the trio of local foes. Opening up against N.C. Central on Friday, the Wildcats are 6-0 all-time against the Eagles dating back to the 1990 season. First meeting in 1986 and 1987, respectively, Davidson holds a 23-20 edge against Western Carolina and a 9-8 advantage over UNC Asheville.

“There’s been a great energy and enthusiasm in our gym during the past three weeks,” Head Coach Chris Willis said as he enters his 11th season at the helm of the ‘Cats. “Our women are eager to test themselves against against a new challenge. I’m excited to see the veterans take on bigger roles and the first-years to get their feet wet in the field of competition. Ultimately, I want to see them execute, learn, and adapt because that will be the marker of great potential.”

Heading into the new season, the Wildcats have welcomed three newcomers onto the scene this fall, bringing in setter Xuan Nguyen and outside hitters Isabella Perry and Isabel Decker. Davidson was predicted to finish sixth overall among the latest Atlantic 10 preseason poll, and will look to build off of its historic 3-2 match victory against VCU last winter. For just the second time in program history, and first since 1994, the Wildcats downed the Rams last February, in a 3-2 comeback match which saw season-best performances from across the Davidson lineup.

After a strong freshman campaign last spring, libero Bella Brady returns as the Wildcats’ defensive anchor in her sophomore season. Last year, Brady appeared in all 13 matches and 47 sets as a rookie, combining for 216 total digs, 44 assists and seven services aces on the year. She reached double-digit digs in all but one match, recorded 20+ digs four times and had a 30-dig performance during the program’s historic 3-2 win over VCU on Feb. 27.

As freshmen Perry and Decker add depth to Davidson’s attack, the Wildcats also return seniors Hattie Rodriguez and Malia Kay to its offensive arsenal. In the 2020-21 season, Rodriguez and Kay combined for 151 kills and 4.7 kills per set. Rodriguez led the ‘Cats overall, with 96 kills and 3.37 points per set while reaching double-digit kills on five occasions and closed out the season with three straight 14+ kill performances.

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