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VB: Hot Hitting Leads Pack Past Notre Dame, 3-1

Posted September 29, 2013

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— The NC State women’s volleyball team came roaring back to win three consecutive sets after dropping the opening frame to defeat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-15, 25-9), Sunday afternoon in Reynolds Coliseum.

“We played well. We came out in the first set and started great,” said head coach Bryan Bunn. “We had control before they made a run, but we bounced back and played really well in sets 2-4.”

The Wolfpack offense seemed to be clicking on all cylinders as the squad recorded a season-best .388 attacking percentage. State had 58 kills on 121 attacks, while only committing 11 attacking errors, its lowest total of the season.

“Our hitters did a great job of taking care of the ball,” Bunn added. “They got up and swung aggressively and had great success.”

In the first set, the Pack led throughout most of the match before the Irish went on a run to close out the set. Junior middle blocker Alesha Wilson ignited the Wolfpack offense with the first kill of the game and State held the lead until Notre Dame took the lead late at 23-22. The score was tied eight different times during the frame before the Fighting Irish ended the set on a 4-0 run.

NC State never trailed in any of the final three sets as the Pack scored the first point of each period and never looked back. The Wolfpack outscored the Irish, 8-4, in the last 12 points decided in the second set. State capped off the frame by scoring three unanswered points.

All of the momentum shifted after the Pack won the second set and the squad took advantage of it down the stretch. State reeled off nine consecutive points to win the third set, 25-15. A service error by Notre Dame’s Maggie Brindock started the run and blocks by senior Brie Merriwether and Courtney Reiman continued the streak.

The Wolfpack jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the fourth set, before a kill by the Irish briefly interrupted the run. NC State continued to be aggressive offensively, scoring seven of the next nine points to lead, 11-3. Back-to-back kills from junior Dariyan Hopper extended the Pack’s advantage to 23-8, before winning the frame, 25-9.

Hopper lead the Wolfpack offense with 17 kills and a career-best .640 hitting percentage. In a total of 25 swings, she only committed one error. Merriwether and Wilson each contributed 12 kills, while Nikki Glass chipped in with 11. It was the first time this season the Pack has had four players with double-digit kills.

Junior Alston Kearns was great defensively with 22 digs, followed by Glass with 10. Glass recorded her second double-double of the season in the contest (11 kills, 10 digs). Sophomore setter Tanna Aljoe dished out 53 assists in the match.

NC State returns to action on Friday, Oct. 4 when it travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on the Boston College Eagles. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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