Dover, Del. --- Delaware State University volleyball fans can get a sneak peak at the 2014 Hornets this weekend. The Hornets will hold their second annual “True Red vs. Columbia Blue” intra-squad scrimmage on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Memorial Hall. The Hornets will open the 2014 season on August 30 against host Syracuse in the Big Orange Tournament. DSU will also face Temple and Niagara in the tourney. Delaware State's home opener is set for Sep. 24 against Hampton.
DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY 2014 VOLLEYBALL OUTLOOK The second year of the Kisya Killingsworth era at Delaware State University appears to be full of promise. Killingsworth has more of her footprint on the Hornets' 2014 squad, which looks to improve on the team's 2-22 overall record and 0-12 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division during her first year at the school last season. Killingsworth's 2014 DSU squad, with no seniors, will feature seven returning players and seven newcomers.
“We have a young squad this year, but I'm expecting considerable enthusiasm and growth as the season progresses,” Killingsworth said. “I'm pleased with the attitude and focus the team had during the off season, and it has carried into preseason camp.”
Topping the list of returning letter winners are juniors Natalia Mendieta (Setter; Aurora, Ill.) and Jasmine Jackson (OH; South Riding, Va.).
Mendieta was tops on the Hornets and third among all MEAC in service aces at 0.41 per set in 2013, totaling 35 aces in 86 games last season. She is also among the league's top returning setters. Last season, Mendieta with 10th in the MEAC in assists at 5.69 per set, tallying 489 helpers in 86 games during the 2013 campaign. Jackson was Delaware State's leader with 248 kills last season, rankling eighth in the MEAC at 2.95 per set. She had an attack percentage of .173, second among team regulars during the 2013 season. In addition, she was fourth on the Hornets with 123 digs (1.46/s). Delaware State also returns one of the MEAC's top blockers in 2013. Jae Jackson (so.; OH; Levittown, Pa.) was tops on the team and fourth in the MEAC in blocks at 0.87 per game as a true freshman in 2013. She totaled 67 blocks (nine solo) in 77 games last season. Taylor Marshall (so.; S; Lancaster, OH) is another reliable setter for the Hornets. Marshall tallied 231 assists in 74 games (3.12 pg) as a freshman in 2013. She also recorded 68 digs (0.92 pg) and 11 aces last season.
Middle blocker Jenessa Helu (so.; Danville, Cal.) will be in her second season with the Hornets after earning valuable minutes as a true freshman in 2013. Her first-year statistics included 26 kills (0.40 pg), 16 digs (0.25 pg) and 22 blocks (0.34 pg) in 65 games. Delaware State's 2014 class of newcomers is its biggest in more than a decade. The class includes, two Delaware high school products, three middle blockers, three outside hitters and a defensive specialist. Jada' Canteen (fr.; Newark, Del.), a 6-1 middle blocker, is expected to provide a solid presence around the net for the Hornets. She attended Delaware's Glasgow High School as senior. Outside hitter Maya Dunston (fr.; Newark, Del.), also a Glasgow (Del.) High School product, was team MVP after tallying 50 kills, 21 aces, 17 blocks, 32 digs and 11 assists as a senior in 2013. Nevershi Ellis (fr.; OH/Defensive specialist) helped lead Chicago's Harlan Community Academy to three consecutive conference championships. She also led the team in kills as a junior and senior; and in blocks during her final season in 2013. Middle blocker NaKia Jones (fr.), also a product of Chicago's Harlan Community Academy, brings impressive athletic ability to the team. In addition to volleyball, she competed in basketball, cross country, and track & field during her scholastic career. She also helped lead the school to multiple conference championships. Amanda McAfee (fr.; Clinton Twp., MI), also a middle blocker, comes to the Hornets after a season at Macomb Community College. As a freshman she was third on the team in hitting percentage (.235), blocks (198) and points (265) en route to earning Most Improved Player, All-Eastern Conference Third Team and All-Freshman honors. Ayanna Lee (fr.; Washington, D.C.) was recruited for her solid defensive skills. She was a two-time conference player-of-the year at Lanham Christian School in the Nation's Capital. Alliyah McBean (fr.; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) will challenge for the starting libero position. She posted a .187 service ace percentage and tallied 217 digs and 24 assists as a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 2013. Delaware State's 2014 schedule includes a return trip to the Syracuse (N.Y.) Invitational, where the Hornets will face off against the host Orange, Temple and Niagara. DSU will also compete in the Lehigh/Lafayette Tournament, in addition to visiting Delaware, Towson, Rider and NJIT for non-conference games. In addition to MEAC North foes Hampton, UMES, Howard, Morgan State, Coppin State and Norfolk State; the Hornets will welcome non-conference opponents Towson, NJIT and Stony Brook to Memorial Hall this season.