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VB: NC State Drops 3-1 Decision to No. 23 Miami

Posted November 5, 2012

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— No. 23 Miami handed NC State’s volleyball team a 3-1 loss on Sunday at Reynolds Coliseum, the Pack’s second setback this weekend to a ranked opponent on its home court.

The Wolfpack (19-7 overall, 9-6 ACC) was led in the match by sophomore Alesha Wilson, who had 14 kills and a .286 hitting average, and sophomore Dariyan Hopper, who had 11 kills and a .132 average. Junior Meredith Richardson came off the bench to add eight kills and post a team-best .294 average.

Sophomore Alston Kearns led the Pack with 20 digs, while senior setter Megan Cyr had 49 assists.

The Hurricanes (21-4, 13-2) jumped out to an early lead and never trailed en route to a 25-17 win in the opening set. The set had its only tie at 1-1, and the Hurricanes overcame six service errors by outhitting the Wolfpack .362 to .000.

“We were a little tentative starting off,” said NC State third-year coach Bryan Bunn. “We gave them a lead and didn’t really respond very well to it. We came back and fought hard after that.
“Ultimately, we made too many errors when the situation was tight.”

In the second set, Bunn introduced several new lineups, including using junior Meredith Richardson more at middle blocker and inserting sophomore Rachel Frick on the back row for the first time this season. The last time the lefthander from Charlotte saw action – in a 3-0 win over Western Carolina – she played outside hitter.

“Meredith has been having a good week in practice and playing really well,” Bunn said. “Rachel has done a good job on the back row in passing and in practice.

“They got an opportunity today and took advantage of it.”

Junior Katie Ganny also came off the bench in the second set and responded with a service ace to give the Wolfpack a 16-15 lead, its first since a 5-4 advantage early in the set. The Pack didn’t trail again in winning the set 25-22.

Both teams were swinging lights out in the second frame, with the Wolfpack holding a slim .425 to .424 edge.

The third set, the Hurricanes had a strong hitting performance, with a .250 to .050 advantage over the Wolfpack. Richardson and Wilson both had four kills in the set for the Pack.

In the fourth set, Miami held a slim margin throughout the set, though the Wolfpack tied the frame, 23-23, on a block by Wilson and sophomore Nikki Glass. After a timeout, the Hurricanes came back to win the final two points for a 25-23 set win and a 3-1 victory in the match.

Miami overcame its total of 12 service errors by being more efficient on its attacks. The Hurricanes had only 14 attack errors to the Wolfpack’s 29. It also had no blocking errors to the Wolfpack’s four.

In the end, Bunn’s team could not take advantage of its momentum in the second set and played from behind in the final two sets.

“One of the things we do is play a lot harder when we get behind,” Bunn said. “Sometimes, when we get a lead, we have a tendency to not have the same sense of urgency. So we get behind and we fight back but sometimes it’s too late to come back from the deficit, especially against a team that is ranked in the Top 25.

“It’s hard to make up that deficit and then push past it.”

The Wolfpack travels to Clemson, S.C., on Friday to face the Tigers and to Atlanta next Saturday to face Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack beat both teams earlier this season, posting a 3-1 victory over the Tigers and taking a 3-2 decision over the Yellow Jackets.

“They are big matches for us,” Bunn said. “They are both pretty close to us in the RPI and we are tied with Clemson for fourth in the ACC. I expect the team to come out and have good practices and be ready to play.”

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