Volleyball Hits Road for ACC Matches
Sept. 29, 2011
NC State (13-2 overall, 1-1 ACC) at Georgia Tech (8-5, 1-2)
RALEIGH, N.C. - Bouncing back from a loss is always difficult, and it's not something second-year NC State volleyball coach Bryan Bunn's young team has had to experience much so far this season.
The Wolfpack (13-2 overall, 1-1 ACC) will look to get back on the winning track this weekend, after seeing its school-record 13-match winning streak snapped last Sunday at Maryland.
Bunn and his team travel to Atlanta on Friday to take on Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. at Tech's O'Keefe Gym. The team will then head to Clemson on Saturday for a 4 p.m. match against the Tigers at Clemson's Jervey Gym. The latter match was moved up by two hours to avoid conflict with Clemson's football game.
"We had a good week of practice after a bad match on Sunday," Bunn said. "The girls all know they can play better, and I think we will.
"Georgia Tech and Clemson are both tough teams, with athletic players in their lineup."
Bunn said his team didn't work on anything specific this week, just improving throughout the lineup in order to avoid coming out tentative, as it did against the Terps on Sunday.
"It's been a team effort," Bunn said. "We had to make sure we were all on the same page and are all ready to play. I think everyone came out and practiced hard.
"As coaches, we tried to appeal to their sense of competitiveness."
Last year, on Nov. 19, the Wolfpack ended a 21-match losing streak to Georgia Tech in Raleigh, with a 3-1 victory in Reynolds Coliseum.
Yellow Jacket junior Monique Mead leads the ACC and is second in the nation with 5.17 kills per set. She's also third in the league with 5.86 points per set.
STREAK ENDS: Last Friday night, the Pack swept Boston College in its ACC opener for its 13th consecutive victory, breaking a 24-year-old school record set in 1987. Sunday afternoon, Maryland swept State, 3-0, to halt the streak.
Here's a look at the two longest winning streaks in NC State volleyball history.
PERCENTAGES: Despite Sunday's loss, Bunn's Wolfpack still owns the ACC's second best overall winning percentage (.867), trailing only Miami (.917). Both the Wolfpack and the Hurricanes are 9-1 in their last 10 matches.
WINNING SETS: After falling behind 0-2 to Wisconsin in its second match of the Courtyard Midtown Classic, the Wolfpack stormed back to win 30 of its next 31 sets during its 13-match winning streak.
ALOTTA SALATA: Senior Margaret Salata ranks in the top 5 of four offensive categories for the Wolfpack. She's third in hitting percentage (.388), fourth in blocks (1.19 per set) and points (4.23 per set) and fifth in kills (3.30 per set). Georgia Tech's Monique Mead leads the ACC and is second nationally with 5.17 kills per set. She also averages 5.86 points per set, which ranks third in the ACC. Clemson is led by junior middle hitter Sandra Adeleye, who ranks in the top 10 in hitting percentage (2nd), blocks (10th), points (5th) and kills (4th).
COMING UP ACES: NC State continues to lead the ACC with 1.41 service aces per set. Though no one in the Wolfpack lineup ranks among the top 10 individuals, the team has a total of 69 aces so far this season.
MORE MVPs: Junior setter Megan Cyr of St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, was named the Most Valuable Player at the Wolfpack's Courtyard Midtown Invitational at Reynolds Coliseum, making her the Pack's third tournament MVP in as many weeks.
Cyr had the Wolfpack's balanced offense clicking, with three consecutive 3-0 victories over Liberty, The Citadel and Towson. In nine overall sets, the transfer from Colorado had 104 assists and nine kills.
Sophomore Brie Merriwether was named the MVP of the Wolfpack's first tournament of the season, the Courtyard Midtown Classic on Sept. 2-3. Teammate Luciana Shafer was also named to the all-tournament team.
ROOKIES GALORE: Following her MVP performance, freshman Nicole Glass of Orlando, Fla., was named the ACC Freshman of the Week for Sept. 12, becoming the first Wolfpack rookie to win the award since its inception in 2010. Glass is one of four freshmen who have started for the Wolfpack this season, along with Rachel Buckley of Carrollton, Texas; Dariyan Hopper of Minooka, Ill.; and Alston Kearns of Apex, N.C.
In all, the Wolfpack has nine true freshmen among its 11 newcomers. Others who have seen action this season are Ana Asher of Crozet, Va.; Laura Blab of Wimberley, Texas; Rachel Frick of Charlotte; Hannah Thompson of Henderson, N.C.; and Alesha Wilson of Keller, Texas.
NC State also has one redshirt freshman, Cal-Poly transfer Katie Ryan of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
FOGLE'S RETURN: When senior outside hitter Becah Fogle returned to the NC State lineup against The Citadel in the Pack's second match of the Courtyard Midtown Invitational, it was her first action in almost a year. Fogle, a regular starter and the Wolfpack's leading scorer early last season, suffered a torn ACL on Oct. 8, 2010, in the final set of a 3-1 loss at Wake Forest.
She had surgery and spent more than 10 months rehabilitating her reconstructed knee. Though she was cleared to play just before the start of practice, Fogle needed nearly a month to get back into playing form.