Nov. 15, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. - For the third consecutive season the NC State volleyball team reached 20 wins as the squad edged the Virginia Cavaliers, 3-2 (25-10, 24-26, 27-25, 18-25, 15-13), Friday night in Reynolds Coliseum. With the win, State improves to 20-7 overall and 11-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), while UVa falls to 15-12 and 8-7 in conference play.
"We played well tonight," said head coach Bryan Bunn. "We had one bad set, but other than that we played well. Virginia's playing really well right now and they had won five of their last six matches, but we stayed resilient and got the win."
Junior Dariyan Hopper smashed a match-high 18 kills for the evening to lead the Pack offensively, while junior Rachel Buckley swatted a career-best 17 kills and a team-high .500 hitting percentage. Junior Nikki Glass and freshman Maddie Brown each recorded 14 digs to lead the defensive effort, while Alston Kearns pitched in 11 digs.
With the win, State improves to 8-1 on the season when hitting between .200-.299, as the squad recorded a hitting percentage of .266 for the evening. The Wolfpack also remained unbeaten in home conference matches at 8-0.
State put forth a dominant performance in the first set to capture the frame, 25-10. The Pack held UVa to a -.094 hitting percentage in the set, while countering with an attacking average of .370. The squad opened the frame on a 9-1 run and never trailed nor was the score tied in the set.
The Cavaliers captured a tightly contested second set, 26-24, where neither team had a lead greater than four. State held an 18-14 advantage following a Meredith Richardson kill, before Virginia rallied to win the frame.
The Wolfpack was down set point at 24-21, before rallying to win six of the last seven points to take the set, 27-25. During the key stretch, Hopper collected three kills and combined on a block with Merriwether as Virginia used two timeouts, but was unable to interrupt the Pack's offensive flow.
Virginia won the fourth set, 25-18, as the Cavaliers started the set on a 6-0 run. State eventually trimmed the margin to four, but ultimately fell in the set.
In the fifth set, Hopper recorded three kills as NC State stormed out to a 5-0 lead, before Virginia responded with three unanswered points. Buckley gave the Pack match point with a kill, 14-12, but the Cavaliers fought off match point to trim the margin to 14-13. Buckley struck again for State as she was able to score on an errant dig by the Cavs to lift the Wolfpack to a win.
The Pack will have little time to dwell on the win as it returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 16 against the Virginia Tech Hokies at 7 p.m. inside Reynolds Coliseum. The program will observe senior night at the match as seniors Katie Ganny, Brie Merriwether and Meredith Richardson will be honored prior to the match.