Pack Volleyball Looks to Return to Winning Ways
Nov. 8, 2012
NC State (19-7, 9-6) at Clemson (18-8, 9-6)
Overall: 19-7; Home: 14-3; Away: 3-4; Neutral: 2-0.
Atlantic Coast Conference: 9-6; Home 7-2; Away: 2-4.
RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State volleyball hopes to regain its early-season momentum as it travels this weekend for a pair of ACC road contests.
The Wolfpack (19-7 overall, 9-6 ACC) will face Clemson on Friday at 7 p.m. in Jervey Gym, in a match between two teams tied for fourth place in the ACC standings. On Saturday, the Pack will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech at O’Keefe Gym, a match that is also slated to begin at 7 p.m.
“This a big weekend for us, with a chance to get into fourth place,” said Wolfpack third-year head coach Bryan Bunn. “We’ve had a good week of practice, with a lot of enthusiasm. We are ready to get back to our winning ways.”
The Pack opened the season by winning 15 of its first 16 games, for the second best start in school history. Since then, it has lost six of its last 10 matches, including four in a row.
Earlier this year against Clemson, the Wolfpack won it’s 15th match of the year with a 3-1 win over the Tigers, winning its second straight match in the series after ending a 27-match losing streak last season. Junior middle blocker Brie Merriwether had the best match of her career, posting a career-high 26 kills for the Wolfpack.
“Clemson has continued to play well since we last saw them,” Bunn said. “They have a talented lineup. It’s going to be a challenging and important match for both of us.”
In the previous match against Georgia Tech, the Wolfpack lost the first two sets as the Yellow Jackets scored nine service aces. But the Pack tightened up its defense and swept the final three sets for the second time this season, winning 3-2 at Reynolds Coliseum. Merriwether led the Wolfpack’s balanced attack with 13 kills.
“Georgia Tech is also playing just as well as it did earlier this year,” Bunn said. “As for us, we lost a little confidence with the two 3-2 losses on the road. Those were tough losses, but our team has been good at bouncing back this year. I am looking for us to play well this weekend.”
Bunn was pleased with the way his team fought in the matched against No. 11 Florida State and No. 23 Miami, the top two teams in the league. It led throughout two sets against the Seminoles and had a close contest with the Hurricanes.
“We had our chances and didn’t take advantage of them,” Bunn said. “We have to do a good job when those opportunities are there for the taking.”
The Wolfpack lost its first two ACC home matches of the season last weekend to a pair of ranked opponents, falling 3-0 to No. 11 Florida State and 3-1 to No. 23 Miami.
The ACC-leading Seminoles outhit the Pack .303 to .139 in the Friday evening match, which was broadcast on ESPN3. The Pack was led by sophomore middle blocker Alesha Wilson with 14 kills, senior setter Megan Cyr with 32 assists and sophomore Alston Kearns with 13 digs.
The Wolfpack (19-7 overall, 9-6 ACC) forged a 1-1 tie after losing the first set to the Hurricanes Sunday afternoon, a contest that was also broadcast by ESPN3. But Miami came back to win the final two set by close margins. Wilson again led the Pack with 14 kills, while Kearns had 20 digs and Cyr had 49 assists.
The Pack will host its final two home matches of the regular season next weekend when Virginia visits Reynolds Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m. and Virginia Tech visits on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Wolfpack beat both teams earlier this season, taking 3-1 victories over each on the road. Admission is free for all spectators.
CYR HITS 1,000 ASSISTS FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE SEASON
Senior Megan Cyr has never missed a point during her three-year NC State volleyball career and for the third consecutive season, she has recorded more than 1,000 assists for the Wolfpack. The native of St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada, played one season at Colorado before transferring to NC State with the arrival of head coach Bryan Bunn.
As a sophomore, she had 1,133 assists. As a junior, she had 1,293 assists, which ranks as the seventh best total in school history.
She is only the second player in school history to record 1,000 assists in three consecutive seasons, joining Nicole Petersen, who had a school-record 1,566 in 1996, 1,423 in 1997 and 1,363 in 1995.