Wildcats Open Season at Seahawk Volleyball Classic
DAVIDSON, N.C. — The Davidson Wildcats are set to open up the 2022 season against Coastal Carolina, UNC Wilmington and Virginia Tech this weekend at the UNCW Seahawk Volleyball Classic.
The ‘Cats will take their first serve of the year at 3 p.m. on Friday, August 26 against Coastal, before taking on host UNCW at 9 a.m. and Virginia Tech at 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 27. All matches will have live stats coverage, in addition to a broadcasted match against the Seahawks on Saturday morning via FloSports ($).
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
Junior libero and team co-captain Bella Brady is ready to lead the Wildcats again after an incredible sophomore season. The Winter Park, Fla. native averaged a league-best 5.4 digs per set in the regular season, totaling 542 total digs and 758 career digs before the end of her sophomore year, leading to a Co-Libero of the Year honor from the Atlantic 10 and a First Team All-Conference selection. Her 542 digs last season was also the third-most digs in a single season in program history and most since 2004.
Blast from the Past
Last season, the Wildcats compiled their best season in the Atlantic 10 with a 10-6 mark and secured the most wins in a single-season since 2013. Head Coach Chris Willis was honored as the league’s Co-Coach of the Year, where Davidson secured a top-4 seed in the conference tournament, its highest postseason ranking since joining the league in 2014-15.
Three’s A Charm
Davidson’s three opponents for opening weekend are familiar foes to the program, as the ‘Cats have a 9-3 all-time record against the Chanticleers, a 9-8 advantage over the Seahawks and will be meeting the Hokies for the fifth time ever. Virginia Tech leads the series 4-0, as Davidson met the Hokies early last season, falling 3-2 in Jacksonville, Fla. In the loss, co-captain Jessie Doyal (33 assists, 14 digs) and Isabel Decker (17 kills, 14 digs) each recorded the first double-doubles of their careers.
New ‘Cats on the Block
After losing four Wildcats in the offseason, Davidson brings in six new faces to the squad in Emma Slusser, Kayla Davis, Anna Withee, Jan Duhaylungsod, Jordan Hummel and Jackie Bardin. “With the departure of such a talented graduating class in 2022, we were challenged to fill the vacuum on our roster,” said Willis. “Needless to say, we feel like we hit a homerun with this group. There is athleticism and talent across all positions, and I can’t wait to have them join our family.”
Guess Who’s Back
Davidson returns 57 percent of its scoring from a season ago, after losing starting outside hitter and 2021 kills leader Hattie Rodriguez to graduation. Now a sophomore, Decker returns to the outside after an All-Rookie freshman season, while setters Doyal and Xuan Nguyen, who combined for nearly 10.5 assists per set, are also back to lead the Wildcats’ offense. Middle blockers Sola Omonije and Anela Davis are also key returners for the ‘Cats, as the two each held over a .250 attacking percentage in 2021.