Volleyball Splits Day One at Rice Invitational
Sept. 13, 2013
HOUSTON, Texas – The NC State women’s volleyball team split a pair of matches on Friday afternoon at the Rice Invitational, suffering its first loss of the season to the Missouri Tigers, 3-0, before defeating Houston Baptist in its second match of the day, 3-1.
“We had our chances against Missouri,” said head coach Bryan Bunn. “They’re a very efficient team and didn’t give us a lot of points and we didn’t earn as many as we should have. We bounced back in the second match of the day and played well against Houston Baptist.”
The Tigers (8-0) won the battle of the unbeatens as they were able to hand the Wolfpack (7-1) its first setback. The first set went Missouri’s way by a 25-20 tally, before State pushed them to the brink in the second set, dropping a narrow 27-25 decision. In the third set, the Tigers outscored the Pack, 25-17.
The teams battled throughout the first set, tying the score 10 different times before the Tigers took the lead for good. In the second set, State jumped out to an early lead, winning seven of the first nine points decided to take a 7-2 lead in the set before Missouri head coach Wayne Kreklow called a timeout. After the timeout, NC State extended its advantage to 15-8 before Missouri went on a 5-0 run to make the score, 15-13.
Missouri fought off three set points as State was unable to capitalize after leading the second frame, 24-21. The Tigers tied it at 24 before closing out the set on a 3-0 run to claim a 27-25 victory.
In the second match of the day, NC State took command in the early stages, winning the first set, 25-11, before claiming the second by a 25-17 margin. Houston Baptist (5-5) rallied to take the third set, 25-21, but the Wolfpack would have none of it in the fourth, winning 25-14.
NC State never trailed in the three sets that it won - the first, second and fourth. The Wolfpack responded to dropping the third set by gaining an early 3-0 lead in the fourth frame, before a service error interrupted the run. Following the error, State scored four consecutive points to give the Pack a 7-1 lead.
State’s great defense was on display in the final minutes of the fourth set as the Wolfpack forced Houston Baptist to commit two attacking errors to end the match.
Junior middle blocker Alesha Wilson led the Pack offense against Houston Baptist with 17 kills and a stellar .485 attack average. Classmate Dariyan Hopper tallied the next-best total with 12 in the second contest, following an 11 kill performance in the first match. Meredith Richardson chipped in with nine, while Rachel Buckley contributed eight.
“Alesha did a good job of taking care of the ball and scored a lot of points for us,” Bunn added.
Tanna Aljoe, a sophomore setter from Grapevine, Texas, recorded 66 assists on the day posting 25 against Missouri and 41 versus Houston Baptist. She also contributed 11 digs in the first match.
On defense, Alston Kearns notched 25 digs against the Huskies, after registering 16 against the Tigers. Kearns’ totals led the Wolfpack in that category in both matches. Three other players tallied double-digit digs in the second match as freshmen Eve Davis and Rachel Eppley posted 13 and 11, respectively, while junior Nikki Glass contributed 11.
NC State returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 14 against the host Rice Owls at 3 p.m. ET inside the Tudor Fieldhouse.