Volleyball Falls In Another 5-Set Marathon
Oct. 14, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State played another long collegiate volleyball match on Friday - an ACC-record sixth consecutive five-set contest - before falling to Virginia Tech, 3-2, at Reynolds Coliseum.
The streak breaks the league record that was set by North Carolina in 1992, when the Tar Heels played four ACC teams and one non-conference team in consecutive matches. All six of the Wolfpack's extra-set contests have been against ACC foes.
Friday night, the Hokies (11-9 overall, 4-5 ACC) came out sizzling against a cold-hitting Wolfpack, taking the first set 25-22. The Pack (14-7, 2-6) answered with a dramatic 26-24 win in the second set by scoring the final nine points and staving off multiple set points.
The Wolfpack had more chances in the exceptionally long third set, but couldn't get over the hump despite several set-point chances. But the Hokies held on for a 32-30 victory to take a 2-1 lead.
State cruised in the fourth set, with a decisive 25-15 victory to force its seventh five-set match of the the season and its sixth in a row.
But the Hokies controlled the final set, taking a 15-10 victory to hand the Wolfpack its fifth straight loss.
"We have to find a way to win some of these," said second-year head coach Bryan Bunn. "We have to learn to win the matches.
"Being competitive is not good enough."
It was Virginia Tech's fourth five-set match in its last five outings.
Wolfpack freshman outside hitter Dariyan Hopper of Minooka, Ill., was her team's player of the game, with a career-high 21 kills and 22 points. Her previous high was 16 in last Sunday's match against Florida State. It was just her third double-digit contest of the season.
"She's played great in these last couple of matches," Bunn said of Hopper. "We need everyone on the team to play with that kind of confidence."
The Wolfpack came out of the gates slowly, hitting at a negative percentage through most of the first set and into the second. The Hokies looked as though they were going to cruise to consecutive wins, serving for set point at 24-17.
State won back the serve on a kill by Nicole Glass, and scored nine straight points with junior Alexa Micek serving. Four of those points came from freshman Laura Blab, who was inserted into the lineup late in the set. Four others came from senior Margaret Salata, who had three kills and a block at the net. Salata finished the match with 13 kills, a game-high seven blocks and 17.5 points.
The Wolfpack won the set on a smash by Blab, on a set from junior Megan Cyr, who had a season-high 52 assists in the contest. It was the third 50-assist match of her career. Senior Kelly Wood had 27 digs in the game, followed by 18 for Cyr and 14 for freshman Alston Kearns.
The Hokies were rattled in the third set, falling behind 8-5 and making three consecutive service errors at one point early in the set. They came back to take a 20-18 lead, but the Wolfpack scored three straight points on a kill by Hopper, an error by the Hokies and a service ace by Cyr.
The teams went back and forth until the Hokies finally pulled out the marathon win.
Bunn's team had it best set of the match in the fourth, hitting .281 to Virginia Tech's negative-.024.
In the final set, however, the Hokies burned up the court, hitting .533 to the Wolfpack's .281.
Overall, Tech had four players with double-digit scoring: Cara Baarendse with 15 kills and 19 points; Samantha Gosling with 11 kills and 13.5 points; Justine Record with nine kills and 13.5 points and Jennifer Wiker with eight kills and 11.5 points.
The Wolfpack faces another ACC foe Saturday night when it hosts Virginia at 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum. The game is designated as the Kay Yow Pink Game, to raise breast cancer awareness. Fans are encouraged to join the Wolfpack in wearing pink for the contest.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on GoPack.com/All-Access.