Dover, Del. (Oct. 2, 2019) --- Delaware State takes on four-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champ Howard in its 2019 volleyball home opener on Friday (Oct. 4). The match is set for 6:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall.
The Hornets have split their first two MEAC matches of the season, including a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Morgan State last Sunday.
DSU, under first-year head coach Dr. Bruce Atkinson, is 6-10 overall this season, tripling their win total for all of 2018 (2-27).
Howard is 5-11 overall and off to a 2-0 start in the MEAC in its quest for a fifth straight conference championship.
The Bison have dominated the series with Delaware State in recent years, winning 12 in a row since the Hornets swept two matches in 2012. Howard has won by 3-0 scores in each of the last five contests.
The Delaware State / Howard contest will be a match-up of two of the MEAC’s top hitting teams. The Hornets are No. 1 in the league with a .199 attack percentage, while Howard is No. 4 at .184 this season. The Bison are the conference leader in kills at 12.4 per set (717 total), while DSU has the stingiest opponent hitting percentage in the league at .203.
Individually, Delaware State’s Sydney Lewis (fr.) is third in the MEAC with a .336 hitting percentage (76 kills/25 errors/152 attacks), while teammate Sydney Armbrister (gr.) is fifth at .279 (81/30/183).
Lewis had 22 kills and only one error on 29 attempts for a MEAC season-high .724 percentage vs. St. Peter’s on Sep. 11. She’s also the league leader in blocks at 1.13 per set, tallying 51 total blocks, including 14 solo this season.
DSU’s Anadys Valentin (fr.) is sixth in the conference in kills at 3.05 per set (183 total), while fellow Hornet freshman Ryanne Burnett is seventh with a 2.90 per set average (145 total).
Hornet setter Jelena Dukic (jr.) is second in the league in assists, averaging 7.98 helpers per set (479 total) entering this weekend matches. Her 53 assists at. St. Peter’s on Sep. 11 and 52 vs. Fairleigh Dickinson on Sep. 20 rank third and fourth, respectively, in the league this season.
Delaware State’s Jasmal Cruz is also having a stellar freshman season. Cruz is third in the MEAC in service aces at 0.48 per set (28 total), while ranking fifth in the league in digs at 3.98 per set (231 total). She had 30 digs vs. St. Peter’s on Sep. 11, tied for second best in the league this season.
The Hornets are also home on Sunday (Oct. 6) for a MEAC match against Norfolk State. Start time is 1:00 p.m. in Memorial Hall.