Volleyball Takes 3-1 Victory Over BC; Assures Winning Season
Oct. 29, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. - The NC State volleyball team guaranteed its first winning record since 1996 by taking a 3-1 victory over Boston College on Saturday night at Reynolds Coliseum.
The Wolfpack (17-9 overall, 5-8 ACC) dominated in the first two sets, but had to charge back at the end of the fourth to secure the victory, thanks to the help of senior Margaret Salata and freshman reserve Laura Blab.
State has now won more matches than any team since the 1996 squad went 21-16, the last time the Wolfpack posted an overall winning record. With five ACC victories, second-year head coach Bryan Bunn's squad also matches the most conference wins since the 1995 team went 6-8 against league competition.
"It's terrific to reach that milestone of having a winning season, given where this program has been since the last time," Bunn said. "But we have a lot of volleyball still to play, and our focus is going to be on winning our next match."
The Wolfpack, which has now won three of its last four matches, travels to Florida next weekend to face Florida State on Friday at 7 p.m. in Tallahassee and Miami on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Coral Gables.
This is a new and exciting experience for Salata, the senior middle blocker from Buffalo Grove, Ill. As a freshman, the Wolfpack won just three overall matches and lost all 22 conference contests. The Pack has already matched its total number of ACC wins in her first three years combined.
"Coming in here, I knew this was a program that hadn't been successful," said Salata, who matched her career high with 19 kills and added 23 points. "It's a big responsibility to help turn something like that around. It's a lot of hard work.
"But to be here when we've gone from a losing program to now being a winning program is awesome, something that's great to be a part of."
The Pack hit a blazing .371 in the opening set to take a quick 25-16 victory. Salata had five kills and posted a .571 hitting average. She also scored the set's final point with a smash to the center of the court.
Salata continued her dominant play in the second set, with another five kills and an overall hitting percentage of .562. As a team, the Pack hit .350 in the set.
But the team went cold over the next two sets, hitting a negative-.030 in the third set as the Eagles took a 25-17 victory. The Wolfpack had seven kills and nine attack errors in the set.
"We made too many errors and lost a little bit of our confidence," Bunn said. "We might have started to take them lightly."
The fourth set was exceptionally close, as the teams were tied 11-11 after 10 ties and three lead changes. The Eagles opened a 17-14 lead, forcing the Wolfpack to call timeout. Leading 24-20, Boston College had four chances at set point, but the Wolfpack scored four in a row to force extra points.
With the match tied 25-25, Salata and Blab, who had not played in the first three sets, blocked the Eagles' attack on back-to-back plays at the net to give the Wolfpack its 17th victory of the season.
Salata was the only Wolfpack player with double-digit kills. Freshman Rachel Buckley had nine kills and 10.5 points. Junior setter Megan Cyr had 45 assists for the second consecutive game, while senior Kelly Wood had 22 digs, followed by freshman Alston Kearns with 18.
The Pack now focuses its sights on the trip to Florida. Bunn's team has played well on the road this season, posting a 3-3 ACC road record, the most wins since the 1996 team won three of its seven conference road matches.
It also played well against both the Seminoles and the Hurricanes, who were both ranked nationally in the earlier contests. Both matches went to five sets, and the young Wolfpack had opportunities to win both.
"We want to keep playing well as we head down to Florida," Bunn said. "We want to keep the momentum we got by winning these two matches this weekend."