Sept. 13, 2012
Weekly Notes (Sept. 14) | UNC game notes
Alston Kearns' ESPN Play of the Day
North Carolina (8-1) vs. NC State (9-1)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Series record: UNC leads, 74-30
Last meeting: UNC won, 3-1, in 2011
Ohio (4-5) vs. NC State (9-1)
Sunday, 2 p.m.
Series record: Ohio leads, 1-0
Last meeting: Ohio won, 3-0, in 1990
RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State will play the eighth and ninth contests in a 13-match homestand, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. when North Carolina visits Reynolds Coliseum in the ACC opener for both teams. On Sunday, the Wolfpack will host Ohio at 2 p.m.
Admission is free for both matches and those who can’t attend can watch a live stream of both for free on GoPack.com’s All-Access.
“North Carolina is one of the top two or three teams in the conference,” said NC State third-year head coach Bryan Bunn. “Hopefully, we have had a couple of good days to prepare for them. It’s going to be a good match.”
The Wolfpack (9-1) enters the match with the most wins and the best winning percentage in the ACC. Bunn’s team is in the middle of a tough stretch, with six matches in 10 days, starting with last weekend’s Courtyard Midtown Invitational and Tuesday’s 3-2 win over UNC Wilmington.
The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have won eight in a row since losing their season-opener against No. 13 Kentucky. UNC is coming off three straight wins at its own 2012 Carolina Classic tournament at Carmichael Arena. Junior Emily McGee was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
North Carolina is led by freshman middle blocker Paige Neuenfeldt, who has a team-high 43 total blocks, while senior setter Cora Harms ranks third in the ACC with 307 assists.
The Tar Heels lead the series between the in-state rivals, 74-30. UNC won both matches last year, a 3-2 decision in Chapel Hill and a 3-1 victory in Raleigh in the final match of the season. The Pack’s last win in the series came in the 2009 season finale, when the Pack won the second and third sets, then won the decisive fifth set by a 16-14 margin.
Bunn expects the Tar Heels to be the Pack’s strongest opponent to date.
“They handle the ball well,” Bunn said. “Their ball control is exceptional, in terms of passing and defense. They are able to get very good athletes there to play for them. Everybody knows about North Carolina.”
It will be a big night for on-campus events, as the No. 14 Wolfpack men’s soccer team hosts top-ranked Maryland at the Dail Soccer Stadium, across Cates Ave. from Reynolds Coliseum. The match is also slated to begin at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, the Wolfpack hosts Ohio’s Bobcats, in the final game of its three-match, four-day visit to Tobacco Road. The Bobcats played at UNC Greensboro on Thursday, at Chapel Hill on Saturday and against the Wolfpack on Sunday.
Ohio has won six Mid-Atlantic Conference regular-season titles, seven tournament titles and made eight NCAA Championship appearances.
“They are perennially a top team in the MAC,” Bunn said. “They have won the league a bunch of times in the last 10 years. It’s going to be a good match.”
Sophomore libero Alston Kearns made the play of the year on Tuesday night against UNC Wilmington, when she chased down an errant pass, kicked the ball high in the air from the end zone to teammate Nikki Glass, who batted the ball backwards over the net from the baseline. The Wolfpack won the point with a block at the net, propelling the Wolfpack to a 3-2 win.
Kearns’ play made No. 8 on ESPN’s Play of the Day for Tuesday, Sept. 11.
The first 150 students who arrive at Reynolds Coliseum for Friday night’s match will receive free Howling Cow ice cream from NC State University Dining and free Wolfpack volleyball shirts from NC State athletics.
The Wolfpack continues its 13-match homestand at Reynolds Coliseum on Wednesday at 7 p.m. when Wake Forest visits for an ACC contest. It rounds out Big Four week by hosting Duke Friday at 7 p.m.
Admission is free for all spectators.
CYR MOVES TO FOURTH IN ASSISTS
Senior setter Megan Cyr had 52 assists in the Wolfpack’s dramatic five-set win over UNC Wilmington on Tuesday night, matching the second most she’s ever recorded in a single match. She also had 52 assists last season in a 3-2 loss to Virginia Tech. She set her career high with 55 assists in a 3-1 win over Illinois State as a sophomore in 2010.
With 388 assists in the Pack’s first 10 matches, Cyr has moved into fourth place on the school’s career assist list, moving past Alice Commers and former teammate Alex Smith this season.
The preseason All-ACC pick has 2,814 career assists in her three seasons with the Wolfpack, after transferring from Colorado following her redshirt freshman year. She needs 143 assists to surpass Erin Vesey, who had 2,956 assists from 1998-99.
She is averaging 10.50 assists per set, which ranks fourth in the ACC.
For the second time this season and the third time in her career, senior setter Megan Cyr has been named the most valuable player in an early-season tournament. Most recently, Cyr was named the MVP of NC State’s Courtyard Midtown Invitational at Reynolds Coliseum, in which she had 94 assists, a .609 hitting average, three service aces, 22 digs and seven total blocks.
She was also named MVP of the Comfort Inn & Suites West Ashley Invitational earlier this year after she posted 121 assists, eight kills, 17 digs, 12 total blocks and three service aces in the Wolfpack’s 3-0 sweep of the tournament.
Last year, Cyr was one of three Wolfpack players to earn MVP honors. Cyr won the award at NC State’s Courtyard Midtown Invitational, while Brie Merriwether was MVP of the Courtyard Midtown Classic and Nikki Glass was MVP of the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Classic in Wilmington, N.C.
5-0 START MATCHES BEST SINCE 1995
NC State won its first five contests of the 2012 season, which matches the program’s best start since 1995, when the Pack won its first seven matches. Head coach Bryan Bunn also led the Wolfpack to a 5-0 start in 2010, his first year at the helm.
So far, the Pack is 9-1 out of the gate this season, which is among the top 10 starts in school history. The best start ever was in 1979, when the Pack started the season 18-1. Here are other top starts.