Nov. 1, 2012
Weekly Notes (Oct. 29-Nov. 4)
No. 11 Florida State (21-2, 12-1) at NC State (19-5, 9-4)
7 p.m. | Friday | Nov. 2, 2012
Series record: Florida State leads, 40-5
Last meeting: Florida State won 3-0 in Tallahassee, Fla., on Oct. 7.
Gametracker | ESPN3
No. 23 Miami (20-3, 12-1) at NC State (19-5, 9-4)
1 p.m. | Sunday | Nov. 4, 2012
Series record: Miami leads, 15-1
Last meeting: Miami won 3-1 in Coral Gables, Fla., on Oct. 5.
Gametracker | ESPN3
NC State’s 2012 Results
Overall: 19-5; Home: 14-1; Away: 3-4; Neutral: 2-0.
Atlantic Coast Conference: 9-4; Home 7-0; Away: 2-4.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Looking to bounce back from a pair of narrow 3-2 losses on the road, the NC State volleyball team will return to Reynolds Coliseum this Homecoming weekend to face a pair of ranked teams who are sitting at the top of the ACC standings.
The Wolfpack (19-5 overall, 9-4 ACC) will host No. 11 Florida State on Friday night at 7 p.m., in a contest that will be broadcast on ESPN3. The Seminoles (21-2, 12-1) own the ACC’s best overall record and have a 40-5 all-time record against the Wolfpack.
On Sunday, State will host Miami at 1 p.m. The Hurricanes (20-3, 12-1) are tied with the Seminoles for first place in the ACC and are 15-1 all-time against the Wolfpack.
“Both of these teams are at the top of the conference,” said NC State third-year coach Bryan Bunn. “We will face a big challenge this weekend.”
Admission is free for all spectators. The team will have a post-match autograph session following Friday’s contest and the first 200 fans at Sunday’s match will receive the second set of NC State volleyball trading cards.
The Wolfpack, which set the school record for ACC wins for the second year in a row, hopes to continue its most successful season in nearly a quarter century. It has an opportunity to do so, with four of its final seven regular-season matches at Reynolds Coliseum.
So far this year, the Pack is unbeaten in ACC home matches, with a 14-1 overall record at home and a 7-0 mark in league play.
“We’ve played well at home this season and we need to continue that,” Bunn said. “We’ve had really good crowds and they really create a great environment for us when the stands are full.”
Last weekend’s road losses, which both went five sets, were disappointing because the Pack had beaten both the Demon Deacons and Blue Devils earlier this season in Reynolds. The losses dropped the Pack 16 spots in the College Volleyball RPI to No. 40.
Bunn said his team has refocused on its preseason goal of earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1988. Knocking off the league’s top two teams would certainly look good on its NCAA resume.
“We’re looking to bounce back from the two losses we had last weekend,” Bunn said. “We had our chances, but didn’t take advantage of them. We had a couple of good practices this weekend and expect to come out strong against two good teams.
“I think we’ve done a good job of refocusing on what we need to do to be successful and to reach our goals. We have been a resilient team all season long and I expect us to continue that.”
Having both matches on ESPN3 for the third time in its last four contests is also a good opportunity to introduce the Wolfpack to college volleyball fans and recruits.
“It’s great exposure to have our team on ESPN3,” Bunn said. “Hopefully, it will be an opportunity to show how far our program has come over these three years since we have been here.”
The Wolfpack dropped a pair of 3-2 ACC matches, losing to Wake Forest on Friday and Duke on Saturday. Against the Demon Deacons, the Pack fought back from a 2-1 deficit to tie the match, but Wake scored six of the final seven points in the fifth set to take the match.
Sophomore Dariyan Hopper led State with 15 kills, followed by sophomore Nikki Glass with 14, sophomore Alesha Wilson with 13 and junior Brie Merriwether with 12. The Deacons outhit the Wolfpack throughout the match, posting a higher hitting percentage in four of the five sets, owning an overall advantage of .230 to .190.
Against the Blue Devils, junior Brie Merriwether had 20 kills with a .655 hitting average for the Wolfpack, while sophomore Alesha Wilson had 16 kills. State also had three regulars with negative hitting averages for the match and hit .134 as a team. Senior Megan Cyr had 51 assists on the night.
The Pack will hit the road again next weekend to face Clemson on Friday in Clemson, S.C., and Georgia Tech on Saturday in Atlanta. Both matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m.
The Pack defeated the Yellow Jackets 3-2 on Sept. 28 and followed the next day with a 3-1 win over the Tigers at Reynolds Coliseum.
The entire team will be available following Friday’s Florida State match for autographs. The Capital City Young Marines Honor Guard will present colors before Friday’s match.
On Sunday, there will be a drawing for three tickets to next weekend’s NC State-Wake Forest football game at Carter-Finley Stadium. The first 200 fans arriving at Sunday’s match will also receive the second set of 2012 NC State volleyball trading cards. Included in this set are sophomores Hannah Thompson, Laura Blab, Rachel Buckley, Rachel Frick, Dariyan Hopper and Alesha Wilson.
MICEK’S CROSS-COUNTRY TREK
After spending her first season at Pierce College in Los Angeles, senior defensive specialist Alexa Micek decided she wanted to play at a higher level and began looking to transfer. The Oxnard, Calif., native took a visit to Miami, where her cousin, Lane Carico, was finishing her All-American career.
Hurricanes coach Nicole Latagne Welch declined to offer Micek a spot on Miami’s roster, but suggested she contact NC State, which had just hired successful coach Bryan Bunn to lead its program. Micek sent an email to the new Wolfpack staff and mailed a recruiting tape.
Bunn offered Micek a chance to walk on and she has become a solid contributor to the lineup for the last three years, playing in all 81 sets this season. She is second on the team with 265 digs. She is also completing her degree in the challenging field of civil engineering.
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 (Georgia Tech) 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 this weekend’s opponents, 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 Friday 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