WINGATE, N.C. -- Ten-time defending Conference Carolinas tournament champion, Lees-McRae Lady Bobcats, will participate in the Wingate Tournament of Champions this weekend at Cuddy Arena. The tournament will feature four teams that won their respective regular season and postseaons conference crowns in 2007. In addition to the Lady Bobcats, the three other teams include host Wingate, the Bulldogs, of the SAC, Fayetteville State, the Broncos, of the CIAA, and USC Aiken, the Pacers, of the Peach Belt Conference.
"The fact we are hosting a tournament with four defending
conference champions will really make for a special weekend at
Wingate University," Bulldog head coach Shelton Collier says. "All
four teams are strong again this year and all should be in the NCAA
Division II tournament again. There is no doubt these will be
important matches for us and every team in the event."
"It a great idea by Shelton to bring this group together," said Lady Bobcat head coach Jamie Petrik. "We are going to see some great competition, and great competition can only make us stronger."
Lees-McRae was 26-12 in the 2007, while recording a 17-3 mark in the Conference Carolinas. The Bobcats return two of their leading hitters from last season in sophomore middle blocker Whitney Kiser (Connelly Springs, N.C.) and senior middle blocker Natalie Burns (Orlando, Fla.). They also return junior setter Lauren Dickover (Las Vegas, Nevada), who averaged 10.32 assists per game last season. The LMC Bobcats are 0-4 overall in 2008.
The Bulldogs were 33-2 in 2007, posting a perfect 14-0 ledger in the SAC and leading the nation in winning percentage. Wingate returns three All-SAC performers. Sophomores Stormi Gale (Richmond, Texas) and Rebecca Bloemer (Louisville, Ky.) were first team All-SAC selections while also being named to the All-Freshman Team, while Gale was named the SAC Freshman of the Year.
The Pacers of USC Aiken were 26-5 overall in 2007. USCA was 10-0 in the Peach Belt Conference. They are led by two returning hitters in senior Stefanie Durham (Easley, S.C.) and sophomore Megan Disney (Knoxville, Tenn.). A first team All-PBC player in 2007, Durham is averaging 3.12 kills per set this season. Disney is averaging 2.44 kills per set. USC Aiken also returns junior setter Lauren Cedeno (Jacksonville, N.C.), who averaged 11.02 assists per game in 2007. USC Aiken is 4-1 overall in 2008.
The Broncos of Fayetteville State were 26-11 overall in 2007. FSU shares a perfect 2007 league slate with Wingate and USC Aiken, as the Broncos were a perfect 13-0 in the CIAA last year.
FSU boasts five preseason all-conference selections, including 2007 CIAA Player of the Year Chekimbrell Jefferson (Laurel Hill, N.C.). She is joined on the preseason all-conference team by outside hitters Heather Chance (Dallas, Texas), Shatia Gidrey (Jacksonville, N.C.) and Samantha Meeks (Laurinburg, N.C.) and setter Achari Mainor (Antioch, Calif.). The Broncos are 2-3 overall in the young 2008 season.
The Wingate University Sports Network will provide an audio broadcast of the Wingate versus Lees-McRae match Friday night (6:45 p.m. pre-game show
2008 Wingate University Tournament of Champions
5 p.m. - USC Aiken vs. Fayetteville State
7 p.m. - Wingate vs. Lees McRae (Listen at Stretch Internet)
10 a.m. - Wingate vs. Fayetteville State
12 noon - Lees McRae vs. USC Aiken
3 p.m. - Lees McRae vs. Fayetteville State
5 p.m. - Wingate vs. USC Aiken