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    Volleyball Rolls Over North Carolina, 3-1
     
    Junior Brie Merriwether
    Junior Brie Merriwether
     

    Sept. 14, 2012

    Final Stats

    Box Score

    RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second time in head coach Bryan Bunn’s three-year tenure, NC State’s volleyball team won its ACC opener, beating North Carolina 3-1 on Friday night at packed Reynolds Coliseum.

    It was, however, a more joyous outcome in the raucous contest between old rivals than the 3-0 victory over Boston College in 2010, since it’s the first time the Wolfpack has beaten the Tar Heels in a conference opener since 1983 and the first time UNC has lost its first ACC contest since 1996.

    “We came out really strong,” Bunn said. “Early on, North Carolina gave us some points and we were certainly happy to take them. They made some changes in the third set and played really great.

    “I thought we got tentative for a little while. We played really well in the fourth set.”

    The Pack (10-1 overall, 1-0 ACC) fell behind early in the opening set, but stormed back by controlling play at the net. The front line outblocked the Tar Heels 3.5-2, which made up for UNC’s hitting advantage (.163 to .130).

    Bunn’s team led the entire second set, finishing off a 25-16 win with back-to-back service aces by sophomore Hannah Thompson.

    Just when the Pack started thinking about getting its first sweep of the Tar Heels since 1991, UNC coach Joe Sagula tweaked his lineup and the Tar Heels finished strong in a 25-21 third-set win.

    In the decisive fourth set, the Wolfpack outscored UNC at one point 7-1 to take an 11-5 lead, but the Tar Heels answered with six in a row to tie the game. After the teams matched the next four points, the Wolfpack reeled off eight straight points with Nikki Glass serving. It won 10 of the game’s final 13 points to complete the overall victory in front of 1,268 spectators.


     

     

    The Wolfpack definitely entered the contest – its eighth in a 13-game homestand – with momentum, after its come-from-behind victory over UNC Wilmington Tuesday night. After losing the first two sets and reaching match point, 24-20, the Wolfpack reeled off six straight points behind Glass’ serve.

    The Pack not only won that set, but the next two, for its third win in two seasons after falling behind 2-0.

    Friday, Bunn’s team left little doubt who was on a bigger roll against at Tar Heel team that had won eight in a row after losing its season opener.

    “We just talked about where our minds needed to be for competition,” Bunn said. “We came in the last game and took UNC Wilmington lightly and they took it to us the first two sets. It took a miracle for us to come back. But sometimes that can spark you.”

    Sophomore Brie Merriwether had 18 kills on the night with a .441 attack average and a career-high 21 total points. Junior Meredith Richardson and sophomore Dariyan Hopper had eight kills apiece.

    Senior Alexa Micek led the team with 14 digs, followed closely by sophomore Nikki Glass with 13, sophomore Alston Kearns with 11 and senior Megan Cyr with 10.

    Cyr led the match with 38 of her team’s 42 assists.

    The Pack had eight service aces to the Tar Heels’ four, and UNC had a total of 31 attack errors to NC State’s 25.

    NC State continues its 13-match homestand on Sunday at 2 p.m. when Ohio visits Reynolds Coliseum in the final non-conference match on the season for the Wolfpack. Admission is free for all spectators. GoPack.com All-Access will stream the match for free.

    Bunn wants to make sure his team is focused on playing well in its last match before anxious to see how well his team will return to non-conference action on Sunday, before it embarks on 19 straight conference matches to end the season.

    “We told the team to celebrate tonight, come in tomorrow and get the scouting report on Ohio and see what we can do on Sunday,” Bunn said.

    The Pack hosts Wake Forest Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Duke next Friday at 7 p.m.

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