Nov 9, 2012
Clemson, S.C. — NC State’s volleyball team ended its four-match losing streak on Friday night, beating Clemson 3-0 in a battle between two teams tied for fourth place in the ACC.
The 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 victory not only extended the Wolfpack’s school record for ACC wins to 10, it also gave State (20-7, 10-6) its first ever season sweep of the Tigers since the league began playing home-and-home matchups in 1993. The Pack also beat the Tigers 3-1 in Reynolds Coliseum on Sept. 29.
It was the Pack’s first 3-0 victory over the Tigers since a 1990 win at Raleigh’s Reynolds Coliseum and its first 3-0 win at Clemson’s Jervey Gym since 1987.
This is the second consecutive year that Bunn has guided the Wolfpack to 20 victories, something the program hasn’t accomplished since 1995-96.
The Pack’s 10th ACC win guarantees the program’s first non-losing season in ACC play since the 1990 team went 3-3 against conference competition.
“It was good to get it turned around,” said third-year head coach Bryan Bunn. “I thought we played really well tonight.”
Bunn’s team will now play Georgia Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m. at O’Keefe Gym in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets (17-10, 8-8) are coming off a dramatic 3-2 win Thursday night over third-place North Carolina in Atlanta.
The Pack and Yellow Jackets also went five sets earlier this season in Raleigh, with NC State winning the final three sets after falling behind 0-2.
In Friday night’s contest, the Wolfpack sophomore hitters were on target all night long, let by outside hitter Dariyan Hopper’s 14 kills and .353 hitting percentage. Sophomore middle blocker Alesha Wilson added nine kills, sophomore Nikki Glass had eight kills and a .318 hitting percentage and Rachel Buckley had six kills.
“We came out early and did what we needed to do on offense and our defense really got us going,” Bunn said. “We settled down after they got a quick lead and started passing the ball around more. Our hitters were playing well all night long.
“This was as well as Nikki and Dariyan have played as a duo in about 10 matches. We really needed them tonight.”
Sophomore Alston Kearns led the team with 18 digs, followed by senior Alexa Micek’s 11. Senior Megan Cyr had a team-high 35 assists.
Junior middle blocker Brie Merriwether had four block assists and two solo blocks, including the match-winning point in the third set.
The Wolfpack trailed most of the first set, after Clemson went on a four-point run to take a 7-3 lead. The Pack stayed close, tying the set at 19-19 and taking its first lead at 21-20 on a block by Nikki Glass.
The Pack had comfortable leads throughout the next two sets to finish off its fourth sweep this season of a league opponent.
For the match, the Pack hit .279 to Clemson’s .145. It also out-blocked the Tigers 10.5 to six.
“We were hitting at a high percentage the entire night and playing better defense,” Bunn said. “Our defense really got us going, especially in the first set.
“Now we have to keep it going and continue to win.”