Oct. 25, 2012
Weekly Notes (Oct. 26-27)
NC State (19-3, 9-2) at Wake Forest (8-15, 2-9)
Friday | 7 p.m. | Oct. 26, 2012
Series record: Wake Forest leads, 27-21
Last meeting: NC State won 3-0 in Raleigh on Sept. 19
Gametracker | ESPN3
NC State (19-3, 9-2) at Duke (12-11, 3-8)
Saturday | 7:30 p.m. | Oct. 27, 2012
Cameron Indoor Stadium
Series record: Duke leads, 58-30
Last meeting: NC State won 3-1 in Raleigh on Sept. 21
Gametracker | Live stream (premium service)
NC State’s 2012 Results
Overall: 19-3; Home: 14-1; Away: 3-2; Neutral: 2-0.
Atlantic Coast Conference: 9-2; Home 7-0; Away: 2-2.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State’s record-setting volleyball team will take to the road for four of its next six matches, beginning Friday when it travels to Memorial Gymnasium in Winston-Salem, N.C., to face Wake Forest in a 7 p.m. match.
The contest will be televised on ESPN3.
The Wolfpack (19-3, 9-2) will then travel to Durham, N.C., on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to face Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We’ve had a pretty good run so far, but there is still a lot of volleyball left on the schedule,” said third-year head coach Bryan Bunn. “These are two important road matches. They are two good teams with a lot of talent on their roster.”
Bunn’s team is 2-2 this year in ACC road contests, to go along with a perfect 7-0 mark in conference matches at home. The only league losses came at Miami and Florida State, the two teams tied at the top of the ACC standings.
The Wolfpack, looking to extend its school record of nine ACC wins, is in sole possession of third place, one match behind the league leaders.
To stay in the race for the school’s first ACC title since the 1988 team went a perfect 6-0 in league play, the Wolfpack will have to play well on the road. Last year, the Wolfpack set a school record with four ACC road wins.
“It’s always more difficult to play away from home,” Bunn said. “You don’t have the home crowd and you are away from your comfort zone. But we have done a pretty good job so far this year of staying focused no matter where we play.”
Last year, the Pack ended a 25-match losing streak to the Demon Deacons with a 3-0 win in Winston-Salem in the only meeting between the two teams. On Sept. 19, the Wolfpack topped Wake Forest 3-0 in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Wolfpack ended a 21-match losing streak against Duke with a 3-1 victory in Reynolds Coliseum two days later.
The defensive-minded Pack has used a well-balanced offensive attack to post more wins in conference play than any team in school history. Senior setter Megan Cyr runs the offense and has plenty of options from middle blockers Brie Merriwether and Alesha Wilson, to a trio of sophomore outside hitters Dariyan Hopper, Nikki Glass and Rachel Buckley.
“I think our balance of the best things about our team,” Bunn said. “We don’t have one player that the other teams have to focus on. We have a lot of strong players throughout our lineup, which makes us hard to prepare for. You can’t just pick a player and try to stop her.
“On any given night, we have several players who can take over and make it difficult for the other team to stop them.”
Hopper leads the team with 206 kills, while Glass is close behind with 196. In the middle, Merriwether has 187 kills and 63 blocks and Wilson, who moved into the starting lineup against Georgia Tech early in the ACC season, has 120 kills and a team-leading hitting percentage of .387.
Cyr, who has played every point for the Wolfpack since transferring three years ago from Colorado, not only leads the team in assists, but also in solo and total blocks and is third in digs.
“It’s always good to have a fifth-year senior to run your team,” Bunn said. “She’s seen a little bit of everything. She knows how to find the player with the hot hand. She does a great job of spreading the ball around.”
Last weekend, the Wolfpack matched then broke the school record for ACC wins in a season with a pair of 3-0 sweeps over Boston College and Maryland, breaking the record of eight set by last year’s squad.
The Wolfpack relied on a well-balanced attack in both matches to overtake the visiting teams and maintain its perfect 7-0 record at home against ACC foes and its 15-1 overall record at home.
In Friday’s match against the Eagles, the Pack led from start to finish in the first and third sets and overcame six ties in the second (25-13, 25-17, 25-18). Sophomore middle blocker Alesha Wilson led the team with 11 kills on 17 attacks for a .529 hitting average. State was particularly strong on the serve, notching six service aces, including three in the first set by sophomore libero Alston Kearns.
Against Maryland, the Wolfpack overcame deficits in the second and third sets to break the school record for conference wins. In the second set, Maryland led 22-19 before the Wolfpack scored six straight points off the serve of senior Alexa Micek to take the victory.
The Terps’ defense concentrated on stopping Wilson, so a trio of sophomore outside hitters – Dariyan Hopper, Nikki Glass and Rachel Buckley – stepped up to provide a balanced attack. Hopper and Glass had eight kills each, while Buckley added six. Senior Megan Cyr had 29 assists and 11 digs.
The Wolfpack will host two televised home matches next weekend that will have a huge impact on the ACC championship race, as No. 12 Florida State visits on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. and Miami visits on Nov. 4 at 1 p.m.
The Seminoles and Hurricanes are tied for the ACC lead with identical 10-1 records, with the Wolfpack one game back in third place with a 9-2 mark. The Pack lost to both during an early-October trip to Florida for its only conference defeats so far this season.
Both matches will be televised on ESPN3.
The entire team will be available following the Florida State match for autographs. The second set of 2012 NC State volleyball trading cards will be distributed prior to the Miami match.
BEATING THE PROGNOSTICATORS -- SO FAR
In its first five league contests, NC State beat the teams picked to finish second (North Carolina), third (Clemson), fourth (Duke) and sixth in the preseason poll of ACC coaches. It added a win over the team picked to finished seventh (Virginia Tech) on Oct. 12
The Wolfpack, following last season’s successful 20-12, 8-12 campaign, was picked to finish eighth in the same poll. The Pack finished tied for seventh last season, its best showing in the league since 1999. The eight ACC wins and four ACC road wins both were school records.
More than halfway through the conference schedule, the Wolfpack has beaten every team in the league other than Miami and Florida State.
When third-year coach Bryan Bunn was hired to lead the program in 2010, he inherited seven losing streaks of more than 10 matches to the school’s 11 ACC foes. In a little over two-and-a-half seasons, Bunn has ended six of them, including a 27-match losing streak to Clemson, a 25-match skid to Wake Forest and 21-match skeins to both Duke and Georgia Tech.
On Oct. 12, the Pack ended a 15-match losing streak to Virginia Tech with a 3-1 victory in Blacksburg, Va.
The last on-going streak is a 25-match string of losses to Florida State, which visits Reynolds Coliseum on Nov. 2 in a match that will be broadcast by ESPN3.
School Streak Ended
Duke 21 2012
Wake Forest 25 2011
Clemson 27 2011
Georgia Tech 21 2010
Virginia Tech 15 2012
Miami 11 2010