North Carolina Central University Hosts Norfolk State and Howard

Image: Instagram/@nccuvolleyball

DURHAM, N.C. – The North Carolina Central University volleyball team will begin the second half of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) competition with home matches against Norfolk State University on Friday and Howard University on Sunday.


Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.
Norfolk State at NC Central

McDougald-McLendon Arena, Durham, N.C.


Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.

Howard at N.C. Central
McDougald-McLendon Arena, Durham, N.C.




The Eagles are coming off a 3-0 road win at South Carolina State University last Friday. Midway through league play, NC Central (3-13 Overall, 2-5 MEAC) is in sixth place in the conference standings. The Eagles are 2-3 at home this season.

Junior Bella Dearinger was named MEAC Co-Setter of the Week on Tuesday and she ranks fourth in the MEAC with 6.67 assists per set. Fellow junior Loren Johnson has one MEAC Defensive Player of the Week honors to her name this season and the libero ranks second in the league with 4.05 digs per set.

The sophomore duo of Kamren Harper and Emmie Modlin rank sixth and ninth, respectively, in the MEAC with 2.87 and 2.78 kills per set.

In the first meeting this season, NC Central lost at Norfolk State 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-16) on Sept. 22. Harper tallied a team-high nine kills, L. Johnson tallied 17 digs and Dearinger supplied 24 assists.

The Eagles dropped a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-23) contest at Howard on Sept. 24. Graduate student Jeslyn Spencer contributed a team-high eight kills and Dearinger had 12 assists.

NCCU Statistical Leaders

KILLS: #13 Kamren Harper (2.87) and #36 Emmie Modlin (2.78)

ACES: #9 Loren Johnson (0.37) and #10 Jeslyn Spencer (0.36)

ASSISTS: #1 Bella Dearinger (6.67) and #2 Azra Osmanovic (2.36)

DIGS: #9 Loren Johnson (4.05) and #1 Bella Dearinger (1.97)

BLOCKS: #20 Kennedy Clark (0.57) and #5 Amarah Johnson (0.52)



The Spartans picked up a 3-1 home triumph over Morgan State University in their last match on Sunday. Norfolk State (6-8 Overall, 5-2 MEAC) is currently in a two-way tie for second place in the conference standings with Howard. The Spartans boast a stellar 4-1 home record, but are 2-7 away from their home arena.

Freshman Gabrielle Gilbert (3.48) and senior Shonte Seale (3.00) are both averaging at least three kills per set on the season and they rank third and fifth, respectively, in the MEAC in kills per set. Seale was a Second Team All-MEAC honoree last year while Gilbert has earned MEAC Rookie of the Week honors four times this season.

Sophomore setter Sydney McCree, the daughter of former longtime NCCU Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker McCree, is third in the MEAC with 8.14 assists per set and she leads the Spartans in total aces.

In last month’s victory against NCCU, Seale netted a double-double with team-high totals of 13 kills and 11 digs. McCree chipped in 31 assists and two aces as the Spartans hit .291 in the match. Gilbert tallied 11 kills and three aces for a team-high 14 points.

Norfolk State Statistical Leaders

KILLS: #11 Gabrielle Gilbert (3.48) and #8 Shonte Seale (3.00)

ACES: #1 Sydney McCree (0.32) and #12 Catori Crawford (0.32)

ASSISTS: #1 Sydney McCree (8.14) and #2 Fabiana Mucciola (1.19)

DIGS: #2 Fabiana Mucciola (3.38) and #1 Sydney McCree (1.92)

BLOCKS: #6 Adiene Jideofor (0.74) and #13 Grace Smith (0.59)



The Bison have won their last two matches, including a rescheduled 3-1 road win at Morgan State on Wednesday. Howard (9-11 Overall, 5-2 MEAC) is tied with Norfolk State in second place in the league standings.

Outside hitter Rya McKinnon is the reigning MEAC Player and Rookie of the Year and she is showing no signs of a sophomore slump leading the league with an average of 3.76 kills per set while also chipping in 1.83 digs per set.

Setter Kayla Diaz and outside hitter Jennifer Bolden joined McKinnon on the Preseason All-MEAC Team. Diaz second in the conference with 9.04 assists and 0.49 aces per set. Diaz first in the league with 0.51 aces per set and second in the conference with 9.17 assists per set. Bolden joins junior Dami Awojobi with over two kills per set.

Diaz has four MEAC Setter of the Week awards to her name this season while McKinnon has been selected MEAC Player of the Week twice, including last week.

McKinnon netted a team-high 12 points that featured nine kills, two aces and two block assists to lead the Bison to their sweep of NCCU last month.

Howard Statistical Leaders

KILLS: #9 Rya McKinnon (3.76) and #28 Dami Awojobi (2.49)

ACES: #16 Kayla Diaz (0.49) and #17 Cimone Woodard (0.37)

ASSISTS: #16 Kayla Diaz (9.04) and #13 Leah Reeves (1.73)

DIGS: #4 Claire Simpson (3.96) and #9 Rya McKinnon (1.83)

BLOCKS: #12 Amanda Ifeanyichukwu (1.75) and #15 Kaitlynn Robinson (0.93)


Source: Kevin Buczek/