Wolfpack Volleyball Sets School Record with 9th ACC Win
Oct. 20, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State’s volleyball team overcame second- and third-set deficits to post its second 3-0 sweep of an ACC opponent this weekend, defeating Maryland on Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum.
With the win, the Wolfpack (19-3, 9-2) established a school record for ACC wins, topping the mark it set last year when it finished the season 20-13 overall and 8-12 in the ACC.
The well-balanced Pack got contributions from throughout its lineup, as the Terps (10-12, 2-9) concentrated on stopping sophomore middle blocker Alesha Wilson. Sophomore outside hitters Dariyan Hopper and Nikki Glass both had eight kills on the night, followed by sophomore Rachel Buckley with six. Wilson finished with five.
“We had some other people step up for us tonight, which was nice,” said third-year coach Bryan Bunn. “They were on Alesha from the beginning, so she kind of struggled from the start, but everyone else picked it up.”
The Pack’s service game was outstanding for the second consecutive night, posting eight aces. Micek, Glass and junior Brie Merriwether each had two.
In the opening set, the Wolfpack took command by reeling off an early 10-3 run, led by a balanced attack. Merriwether had three kills in the set, while Buckley and Hopper had two each. The Pack hit a sizzling .292, while Maryland managed only a negative .032 in the set.
Maryland came back strong in the second set, leading most of the way until the Wolfpack’s strong service game seized the momentum. Both Glass and Alston Kearns had aces for the Pack and Hopper’s kill tied the match for the first time at 15-15.
Maryland built its lead back to 22-19, but the Wolfpack scored six straight points behind the serving of senior Alexa Micek to take a 2-0 lead in the match. The Terps committed two errors, but the Pack got a big kill by Cyr, a blocks by Cyr and Wilson and an ace by Micek to win the game.
“From the beginning of the season, we know we are pretty resilient,” Bunn said. “I tell the girls if they can put up with me for four years, they are going to be pretty tough. It all comes down to the fact that they are confident. They know they have the ability.
“I think after we came out strong in the first set, we let up a little bit, Maryland turned it on and caught us on our heels. But we bounced back.”
The Pack closed out its second consecutive straight-set victory by overtaking Maryland’s early lead in the third set. State didn’t lead until the Terps committed a blocking error on Hopper’s attack, giving the Wolfpack a 13-12 advantage.
The Terps managed one more tie, but never regained the lead. State closed out the match with a 25-20 win in the third set.
The Wolfpack will play four of its next six matches on the road, beginning with Friday’s contest at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. The match will be broadcast on ESPN3, beginning at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the Wolfpack will face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium, in a match that is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.
“We have to keep our focus,” said Bunn, whose team is 14-1 at home this year, including a 7-0 mark against ACC foes. “We won [most of] those matches at home. We have to be ready to go on the road against Duke and Wake. But we have confidence and that’s what you need to be successful on the road.
Bunn’s team will return home on Nov. 2 and 4 to face Florida State and Miami, respectively. Both those matches will be shown on ESPN3 as well. Admission is free for all spectators.