Volleyball Ends Season with 3-1 Loss to UNC
Nov. 23, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State volleyball team ended its breakthrough 2011 season with a 3-1 loss to North Carolina Wednesday afternoon at Reynolds Coliseum, in front of a rowdy crowd of 943, in the first half of a day-night doubleheader with the Wolfpack women's basketball team.
"It's been a good ride," said second-year head coach Bryan Bunn. "We wished we could have finished a little better with a win today, but I'm very proud of the way this team worked and competed all season long."
The Wolfpack (20-13 overall, 8-12 ACC) concludes the year after achieving several notable milestones, including a school-record eight ACC victories, four ACC road victories, a 13-match winning streak and an ACC record streak of six consecutive five-set matches.
The Pack had its highest ACC finish since 1999, its first winning season and its first 20-win season since 1996 and the most overall victories since the '96 team won 21 matches.
Senior middle blocker Margaret Salata became the first Pack player in 13 years to earn All-ACC honors, while freshman Dariyan Hopper is the Wolfpack freshman since 2003 to earn a spot on the ACC All-Freshman team, as the ACC announced its annual accolades earlier in the day on Wednesday.
Against the Tar Heels (23-8, 15-5), the Wolfpack jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set, but the Tar Heels built a 13-7 advantage midway through the game, forcing Bunn to call timeout. The Pack cut that lead down to four points on two occasions, but was unable to get any closer as the Tar Heels took a 25-18 victory.
The Pack built a 5-1 lead in the second set and never looked back, taking a 25-10 victory behind the Hopper's attack. She had three kills for the Wolfpack, while Salata added four blocks at the net. State was accurate throughout the game, hitting .276 to Carolina's -.200.
The Tar Heels were cruising in the third set, taking a 17-11 and forcing the Wolfpack to call timeout. The Pack scored six of the game's next seven points to draw within 18-17. Carolina returned the favor, also scoring six of the next seven points to set up set point. The Heels took the 2-1 lead in the match on a kill by Emily McGee.
The fourth set was similar to the second, with the Pack jumping out to a 7-1 lead with an aggressive attack. Salata was again strong at the net, but the Tar Heels came back to take a 16-15 lead. The team traded leads and ties until a pair of UNC errors, a block at the net by Cyr and Merriwether and a soft kill by Cyr gave the Pack a 20-17 advantage, forcing the Heels to call timeout.
Carolina answered with a flurry of points to retake the lead and close out the match with a kill by freshman Chaniel Nelson.
Salata led the Wolfpack with 13 kills, a .444 hitting percentage and nine total blocks en route to a match-high 18.5 points. Hopper added 11 kills and 12.5 points.
"I'm just pleased with our improvement throughout the season," Bunn said. ""I think we surprised a lot of people this season, except for ourselves. We gained a lot of confidence that will carry over for us into next year."
"We will miss them all, and the contributions they made to our program," Bunn said. "Margaret and Kelly have been here four for years and have seen a lot of changes. They have been hardworking and dedicated to improving each of their four years here.
"Luciana and Becah both transferred into the program and they both took big chances on us as coaches. They have been a huge part of the success we have had over the last two years."
Cyr will return at setter next season. After just two years in the program, she ranks sixth all-time with 2,436 assists. The Pack will return its three young outside hitters, freshmen Hopper, Nicole Glass and Rachel Buckley, sophomore middle blocker Brie Merriwether and and a trio of backline players who saw plenty of action this season, junior Alexa Micek and freshmen Alston Kearns and Hannah Thompson.
Bunn will welcome four newcomers to the roster after adding middle blockers Morgan Cormier of Carlsbad, Calif., and Hannah Holkum of Edmond, Olka.; setter Kaitlyn LaMantia of Chantilly, Va.; and middle blocker/outside hitter Courtney Reiman of Omaha, Neb.