CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University volleyball team opens its North Atlantic Conference schedule with two matches Saturday, Oct. 1, first facing Maine-Presque Isle in a neutral-site match at 12 noon before taking on host Husson at 4 p.m.
The Spartans are coming off a 3-0 victory at Southern Vermont Wednesday night, collecting 18 service aces while holding the Mountaineers to a .009 hitting percentage. Cassidy Tedeschi led Castleton with nine kills, six service aces, and five total blocks, while J'Leen Diaz finished with eight kills, four service aces, and a team-high 15 defensive digs.
As a team, Castleton is now seventh in Division III in aces per set (3.39) and 18th in opponent hitting percentage (.087). Individually, Kimberly Jackson is sixth in the country in aces per set, averaging 1.03 service aces per set after earning at least one ace per set for the sixth time this season Wednesday night.
Maine-Presque Isle is 2-13 overall entering its conference opener Friday night at Husson. Both victories have come against Maine-Machias, including a 3-0 victory at home Wednesday, Sept. 21. Abby Jewett leads the Owls with 125 kills and 180 digs, plus she is second on the squad with 16 service aces and six total blocks. Esmeralda Galvan leads Maine-Presque Isle with 26 service aces, plus she is second on the team with 165 digs.
Castleton faced Maine-Presque Isle Sept. 4 in Gorham, Maine, defeating the Owls 3-0 (25-21, 25-10, 25-20). Tedeschi led the Spartans with 13 kills and a .423 hitting percentage, while Diaz finished with 11 kills, a .375 hitting percentage, and eight digs. Castleton has swept all four previous meetings over Maine-Presque Isle, but this will be the first time the two teams have faced each other as conference opponents.
Husson is 8-10 so far this season, with matches against Maine-Presque Isle Friday night and against Green Mountain Saturday before facing the Spartans. The Eagles last defeated Unity College, 3-0, this past Tuesday, snapping a three-match losing streak.
Mary Grace Power leads Husson with 85 total kills, while Bailey Cote has collected 72 kills along with a team-high 23 total blocks, including 20 solo blocks. Hanna Hembrow leads the team with 244 assists, plus she is second on the team with 18 service aces. Nia Arranaga is the team leader in service aces with 42, and Delaney Chisholm paces the defense with 157 digs.
Since the 2005 season, Husson owns a 9-3 series advantage over Castleton. The Eagles won the first nine meetings, including a 3-1 win in the 2009 NAC semifinals, but the Spartans have won the last three contests. Last season, Castleton pulled out a thrilling five-set victory over Husson, not making an attack error in the final set to clinch the match, 15-7.