Volleyball Kicks Off Second Half of ACC Season
Oct. 27, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. - After splitting a pair of ACC road matches, the NC State volleyball team returns home this weekend for back-to-back matches against Maryland and Boston College to kick off the second half of the ACC season.
Both matches are set for 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum.
All three teams are tied for eighth place in the ACC, with matching 3-8 conference records.
The Wolfpack (15-9 overall, 3-8 ACC) topped the Eagles 3-0 at Chestnut Hill, Mass., earlier this year, the final contest in the Wolfpack's school-record 13 consecutive match winning streak. BC has lost five of its last six matches.
The Pack's record winning streak was broken with a 3-0 loss to the Terrapins in College Park, Md. The Terrapins have lost their last seven matches, all against ACC opponents.
State, which has lost seven of its last eight matches, has already exceeded last year's win total of 14 and has the program's most victories since the 1999 squad went 16-19.
SWEET CANDY: Saturday's match against the Eagles is "Trick-or-Treat With the Pack Night." Fans who wear their Halloween costumes to the contest will receive free candy, while supplies last, as the Wolfpack volleyball team celebrates the age-old custom of trick-or-treating.
SWEET HOME: NC State has had one long ACC homestand this season, playing four consecutive matches against conference opponents at historic Reynolds Coliseum. Although three of those four went five sets, the Wolfpack has not yet won a conference home match this season.
Prior to the start of ACC play, the Wolfpack won seven home matches, including a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Big Ten opponent Wisconsin. The first four wins at Reynolds were in the Midtown Courtyard Classic, and the next three were in the Courtyard Midtown Invitational.
Last year, the Wolfpack notched three of its four ACC victories at Reynolds Coliseum.
SWEET MUSIC: Meredith Richardson, a sophomore middle blocker from Brentwood, Tenn., has become the Wolfpack's designated pregame national anthem singer. The talented civil engineering major began singing "The Star Spangled Banner" for the Florida State match, which was televised regionally by the ACC's Regional Sports Network.
She did the same prior to the Virginia and Virginia Tech matches.
Richardson, designated by an overwhelming majority of her teammates as the best singer on the team, has competed in NC State's annual "Athletes With Talent" competition and performed with other student-athletes at the athletics department's holiday party.
Her post-athletic career ambition?
"To be on Glee!" she says.
ROAD WARRIORS: NC State's win at Wake Forest last week was the Wolfpack's third conference road victory of the season. The Pack is 3-4 on the road so far this year, the same as the 1996 team's record in league road matches.
In fact, the Pack won just four ACC road matches in the 14 years since that '96 team posted a 21-16 overall record, which is the most wins in a season since the 1983 team won the ACC regular-season championship and finished with a 23-15 overall mark.
IN THE HOPPER: Heading into the Oct. 7 match against Miami, freshman Dariyan Hopper of Minooka, Ill., had not recorded a double-digit kill match this season. The closest she had come was nine kills and 10 points in the Wolfpack's 3-1 victory over Charleston Southern in the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Tournament in Wilmington, N.C., on Sept. 9.
But starting against the Hurricanes, Hopper recorded five consecutive contests with double-digit kills. She had 11 against the Hurricanes, 16 against Florida State, a career-high 21 against Virginia Tech and 14 against Virginia. She added a team-high 10 against Wake Forest on Wednesday.
Hopper has played in every set for the last eight matches, a total of 37 straight sets out of the 58 she has played in her inaugural season with the Wolfpack.
SOLID WOOD: Senior libero Kelly Wood of Yadkinville is one of two ironmen for the Wolfpack this season. She and junior setter Megan Cyr are the only two players on the roster who have played in all 89 sets this season.
On Oct. 14 against Virginia Tech, Wood had a season-high 27 digs for the Pack, nearing the career high she set two years ago as a sophomore. She had 29 in a four-set loss to George Mason. She matched that total last year against Clemson.
Wood leads the Wolfpack with 358 digs this season, or 4.02 digs per set. She has led the program in digs three of the last four seasons and currently ranks second all-time in career digs with 1,667.
Jennifer Peterson, who played for the Pack from 1994-97, recorded 1,767 digs in four seasons. Wood needs to average about 12 digs in the Wolfpack's final nine regular-season matches to break Peterson's school record.
Wood, who has missed just one set in her four seasons with the Pack, just entered the top 10 for career games played. She's played in 448 of a possible 449 sets in her four-year career. Peterson also owns the school record with 510 games played, followed by Amy Lemerman with 509.
By playing three sets against Duke, Wood is now tied for ninth in all-time games played with Alex Smith (2007-2010) with 448 sets played.
MARATHON MATCHES: NC State's school- and ACC-record stretch of six consecutive five-set matches came to an end last weekend in a 3-1 loss to Virginia at Reynolds Coliseum. The night before, the Wolfpack went five sets against Virginia Tech, breaking the ACC mark the Wolfpack shared with North Carolina.
The Tar Heels played five consecutive five-set matches in 1992, four against ACC foes and one against a non-conference opponent. Virginia Tech, as a member of the Atlantic 10, played five consecutive five-set matches in 1999, four against conference opponents and one against a non-conference opponent.
But the Wolfpack's streak was comprised of six consecutive conference matches, an unprecedented and grueling streak that amounted to more than four additional matches on the schedule.
In the Pack's first 15 matches, it played a total of 49 sets in 29 days. That includes three days with two matches during early season tournaments.
In its next seven matches, in a span of just 16 days, the Wolfpack played 34 total sets, including the six consecutive matches that went to a maximum of five sets and one match that went four sets.
Here's a breakdown of each ACC school's longest streak of five-set matches:
WINNING WAYS: After losing its season-opening match to Appalachian State, NC State reeled off 13 consecutive wins to break a 24-year-old school record. The previous record of 12 was set by the 1987 Wolfpack en route to the ACC championship.
ACES: For the second time this season, senior libero Kelly Wood recorded three service aces in the match against Virginia. She also had three against North Carolina A&T on Sept. 2. Freshman Nicole Glass also has a pair of three-ace matches this season (against East Carolina and Charlotte) and freshman Alston Kearns had three against North Carolina A&T. The Wolfpack had a season-high 12 aces in the match against N.C. A&T.
KILLS: The Wolfpack had a season-high 68 kills in the five-set loss to Virginia Tech on Oct. 14, surpassing the previous high of 66, which the Pack recorded in five-set losses to both Miami and Florida State the week before.
SECOND GLASS ACT: For the second time this season, Wolfpack freshman Nicole Glass of Colorado Springs, Colo., was named the ACC Volleyball Freshman of the Week, following her performances against the league's top three teams.
In three matches, the outside hitter recorded 50 kills and 53 points. Against No. 21 Miami, Glass recorded a career-high 21 kills and 22 points for the Wolfpack, while notching a hitting average of .286. She added another 19 kills against the Seminoles and 10 against the Tar Heels.
Her previous career high was 16 on Sept. 10 in a 3-0 victory over UNC Wilmington.
Glass also added three aces in the three matches, giving her a team-high total of 19 for the season.
Glass also won the Freshman of the Week award on Sept. 12 after being named most valuable player at the Hilton Garden Inn Mayfaire Tournament in Wilmington, N.C., where she led the Wolfpack to three straight wins with three consecutive matches of double-digit kills.
MVP THREESOME: Junior setter Megan Cyr was named the Most Valuable Player at the Wolfpack's own 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 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.
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.