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VB: State rallies for five-set win against Georgia Tech

Posted November 9, 2013

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The NC State women’s volleyball team used strong performances in the fourth and fifth sets to defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 3-2 (27-25, 25-27, 11-25, 25-19, 15-12), Saturday evening in Reynolds Coliseum. With the win, State remained undefeated in home conference matches at 7-0.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we won,” said head coach Bryan Bunn. “We had a really bad start to the match, but we came back to win the first set. We played pretty well in the second set, but didn’t in the third. We took the lead in sets four and five and held on to win both of them.”

The Wolfpack (19-7, 9-4 ACC) got off to a great start in the first set, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead, but the Yellow Jackets (9-16, 3-10 ACC) did not go away and countered with three unanswered points to trim the deficit to one point. With the score tied at seven, Georgia Tech went on an 11-2 run to gain the advantage in the set, 18-9.

NC State scored three consecutive points to trim the Tech lead to 18-12. A timeout by the Yellow Jackets reignited their offense as they scored three unanswered points out of the break. Trailing 23-15, the Wolfpack went on a 4-0 run to pull within four points of the Yellow Jackets. Jennifer Percy’s kill gave Georgia Tech set point, 24-19, but the Pack fought off set point five times to tie the score at 24.

With the score knotted at 24, Percy put her team ahead by one, but senior Meredith Richardson smacked a kill on the next play and junior Rachel Buckley followed with one of her own to give the Wolfpack a 26-25 advantage. NC State forced Georgia Tech into an attacking error on the subsequent play to win the first set, 27-25, and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set saw 13 tied scores and five lead changes as both teams battled to gain the advantage in the frame. State once again fought off set point with a kill by junior Nikki Glass, but Tech emerged victorious in the set, 27-25. The Yellow Jackets momentum from the second period carried over to the third set as they won it, 25-11, to take the lead in the match, 2-1.

“After set three, I told the team that it’s on us to perform,” Bunn added. “We weren’t performing well, but I told the team we could fix this and we did.”

In the fourth set, the Wolfpack regrouped to win the frame, 25-19, headlined by four kills from Buckley. After the score was tied at 13, State scored three unanswered points to force a Georgia Tech timeout. The Yellow Jackets notched back-to-back points after the timeout, but NC State had an answer with four consecutive points to stretch the lead and held on to win the set.

Junior Alesha Wilson paced the Pack in the fifth set as the Keller, Texas, native swatted four kills. NC State hit .304 as a team in the final set as opposed to just a .136 clip for Georgia Tech. Freshman Eve Davis was also huge for State in the set, smacking three kills. A service error by Tech’s Kaleigh Colson gave State the fifth-set win and 3-2 victory in the match.

Wilson led the Wolfpack offensively with 11 kills, while Richardson swatted 10. Freshman Maggie Speaks did a great job at the setter position, handing out 37 assists on the night. Junior Alston Kearns recorded 16 digs to the lead the team in that category, followed by Glass with 13.

NC State returns to action on Friday, Nov. 15 when it hosts the Virginia Cavaliers in a conference match slated to begin at 7 p.m. inside Reynolds Coliseum.

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