Volleyball Hosts First Spring Tournament on Saturday
March 21, 2013
RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State will host the first of two spring volleyball tournaments this weekend at Reynolds Coliseum, splitting its squad into two teams and hosting seven other squads on three courts during the day-long, round-robin event.
The Wolfpack will mix and match its rosters on the “NC State” and “Wolfpack” teams throughout the day so head coach Bryan Bunn and his coaching staff can assess different lineups.
The Pack, which advanced to the NCAA Championships last season and set a school record for ACC wins with its 22-10 overall and 12-8 ACC record, has been practicing since Feb. 19 under the direction of Bunn, assistant Peter Hoyer and new assistant Kimberly Martinez, who joined the staff from Marshall in mid-February.
Bunn has led the Wolfpack to a 56-41 record in his first three seasons as head coach, with back-to-back 20-win seasons in 2011 and ’12 and the program’s first winning record in ACC play since 1988.
The team welcomed three of its newest recruits to the spring workouts, San Diego State transfer Tanna Aljoe and early high school graduates Maggie Speaks and M.C. Preddy. Three other high school recruits will join the program in the summer.
Both Aljoe and Speaks are competing to replace departed three-year starter Megan Cyr at setter. Cyr, an AVCA All-America selection last season, played every point of every match for the last three season, after transferring to NC State from Colorado.
“It is big for us that all three of our setters are here this spring,” Bunn said. “We will get to work with them and train with them to see who is going to be the best fit to fill Megan’s position next season.
“It’s also nice to have the two recruits who graduated early in here this spring. They will both be able to get a taste of college life before the season starts and to get their feet firmly planted on the ground academically and to learn what it takes to study and get things done in the classroom as well as on the court.”
Bunn is entering his fourth year at the program’s helm, and his first four-year players, featuring middle blockers Brie Merriwether, Meredith Richardson and American-transfer defensive specialist Katie Ganny are now entering their senior seasons.
Merriwether led the team with 96 blocks last season and was third with 271 kills.
Bunn’s large junior class –which features outside hitters Dariyan Hopper, Nikki Glass, Rachel Buckley, middle blocker Alesha Wilson and libero/defensive specialist Alston Kearns – will also be counted on for leadership throughout next season.
“We lost two outstanding leaders in Megan Cyr and Alexa Micek, and we need our upperclassmen to step forward in their leadership roles,” Bunn said. “We need our outside hitters to take a bigger role in our offense, to have a higher hitting percentage and a lower error percentage. We are looking for better passing.
“Those are some of the key areas we are working on during the spring.”
Bunn likes his team’s progress so far, after weeks of individual workouts in January and more than a month of team practice.
“It’s been a good spring so far, in terms of everyone being motivated to get up early and working out and then coming here in the afternoon for individual training and team practice,” Bunn said.
Saturday’s event at Reynolds will be the first of four weekend tournaments the Wolfpack will play in the next five weeks. Admission is free for all spectators. They will travel to Norfolk, Va., on April 6, host another tournament in Reynolds on April 13 and play at Chapel Hill, N.C., on April 20.
Results will be posted after each tournament on GoPack.com. Follow the Pack throughout the season via Twitter (@PackVBall), by joining the team’s Facebook page (NC State Volleyball) and on www.GoPack.com/volleyball.
Saturday’s Schedule of Matches