Volleyball, Women's Basketball Host Day-Night Doubleheader
Nov. 22, 2011
North Carolina at NC State (20-12, 8-11)
RALEIGH, N.C. – NC State will conclude the 2011 regular season on Wednesday at 1 p.m. against rival North Carolina at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Wolfpack (20-12 overall, 8-11 ACC) is assured of finishing as high as seventh and no worse than eighth place in the ACC standings, its best finish since the 1999 team finished tied for seventh, when the league had only nine teams.
The Wolfpack enters Wednesday’s match tied for seventh with Georgia Tech with an 8-11 ACC record. The Yellow Jackets host Clemson at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.
State and Carolina first met in 1975, the first season of volleyball at NC State. The Wolfpack was led by Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Kay Yow at the time. The teams have played 103 matches all time, with the Tar Heels holding a 73-30 advantage.
The Tar Heels won the earlier meeting on Oct. 4 in a thrilling 3-2 outcome at UNC’s Carmichael Gymnasium.
In that match, NC State freshman Nicole Glass had a team-high 10 kills, followed by sophomore Brie Merriwether with nine and senior Margaret Salata with eight. Junior Megan Cyr had 34 assists, while senior Kelly Wood led the team with 19 digs, followed by junior Alexa Micek with 11.
UNC junior Emily McGee led her team with 19 kills, a .375 hitting percentage 22 digs and 20 points.
ACCOMPLISHED SEASON: The 2011 season has been marked by numerous school firsts and “first-since” accomplishments, as second-year head coach Bryan Bunn and his squad continue the program’s building process.
Among the team milestones:
BASKETBALL DOUBLEHEADER: For the second time this season, NC State volleyball and women’s basketball will play a day-night doubleheader at Reynolds Coliseum. The volleyball match, which will be played in the north end of Reynolds, begins at 1 p.m., while the women’s basketball game against Jacksonville begins at 7 p.m.
Earlier this season, the Wolfpack basketball team beat Southeast Missouri State in a noon game at Reynolds, followed by a volleyball victory over Clemson later that evening.
The two teams don’t technically play on the same floor. The volleyball court is situated at the north end of the coliseum and the basketball court is in the center. But the bleachers used for both overlap playing surfaces and must be removed and reconfigured between contests.
ACC WINS: Heading into its final match of the regular season, the Wolfpack has notched a school-record eight conference wins. The previous record – set on four previous occasions (’83, ’86, ’88, ’95) – was six conference wins.
Three of those were when the Pack faced the other ACC teams just once in a season. This year is only the second time since the league started the double round-robin that the Wolfpack has won more than five ACC matches.
20-WIN SEASONS: The Wolfpack’s 3-1 victory at Virginia on Friday was its 20th victory of the season. It’s the 13th time since volleyball was added as a varsity sport in 1975 that State has notched 20 wins and the first time since the 1996 team went 21-16.
Year Overall ACC
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 by the ACC’s Regional Sports Network.
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.
WEEKLY DOUBLE: For the first time in the history of the program, NC State had both the ACC Player of the Week and the ACC Freshman of the Week, as senior middle blocker Margaret Salata and freshman outside hitter Dariyan Hopper were honored for their play against Clemson and Georgia Tech.
It was the first weekly award from the league for both players. Salata became the first Wolfpack player since Alex Smith in the opening week of the 2010 season to earn Player of the Week honors, after leading the Pack to two conference wins.
Salata, a senior from Buffalo Grove, Ill., matched her career high with 19 kills and set a career best with 24 points against the Tigers. She added 12 kills and a sizzling .579 hitting average against the Yellow Jackets.
Hopper, a freshman from Minooka, Ill., had two of her finest matches of the season, with 14 kills and three blocks against the Tigers and 12 kills and a .423 hitting average against the Yellow Jackets.
IN THE HOPPER: Heading into the Oct. 7 match against Miami, freshman Dariyan Hopper 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 and 13 against Maryland to give her six double-figure kills in seven matches.
With 14 against Clemson and 12 against Georgia Tech, Hopper has hit double-digit kill totals in 10 of the Wolfpack’s last 14 matches.
DIGGING WOODS: Senior libero/defensive specialist Kelly Wood became the school’s career leader in digs in Sunday’s match against Georgia Tech. The native of Yadkinville, N.C., had 16 digs in the contest to surpass the school record of 1,767 set by Jennifer Peterson from 1994-97.
For the season, Wood has a career-high 513 digs, which is second only to Peterson’s school-record 597 digs in 1994.
Woods, a four-year starter for the Wolfpack, is also ranked fifth in career games played with 479.
CLOSING IN: Several other Wolfpack players are closing in on season and career marks the 2011 season nears its end.
Senior Margaret Salata is second all-time with 155 total blocks this season. She ranks fifth all time with 399 career blocks.
Junior Megan Cyr, in just her second season in the program, ranks sixth in career assists with 2,391. Cyr recently surpassed her 2010 total of 1,133. She has 1,160 for the season, which ranks as the 10th best single-season total in school history.
Career Games Played
2012 SIGNEES: NC State signed four high school players who will join the program next fall and fill specific needs the program has at middle blocker and setter.
The class consists of middle blockers Morgan Cormier of Carlsbad, Calif., and Hannah Holkum of Edmond, Olka.; setter Kaitlyn LaMantia of Chantilly, Va.; and middle blocker/outside hitter Courtney Reiman of Omaha, Neb.
“We’re excited about the size and athleticism of this year's class,” Bunn said. “Just as importantly, they’re good people and great students who help solidify the type of program we are building here.
“This class, coupled with this year's freshmen and sophomores, puts us in a great position to keep improving our finish in the ACC."
2011 NC State Volleyball Signing Class
MARATHON MATCHES: NC State’s school- and ACC-record stretch of six consecutive five-set matches came to an end with 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 included 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.
In all, the Wolfpack has played nine five set matches this season, including 3-2 wins over Wisconsin on Sept. 2 and over Clemson on Nov. 11. The Pack is 3-6 in five-set matches this year.
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.
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.
She won the award again on Oct. 10, joining Duke’s Jeme Obeime and Wake Forest’s Danae Rosendall as the only freshmen this season to earn the honor twice.
Teammate Dariyan Hopper of Minooka, Ill., also won the freshman award two weeks ago after lead the Wolfpack to wins over Clemson and Georgia Tech.
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.