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VB: Wolfpack Outlasts Pitt in Five-Set Thriller

Posted October 26, 2013

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— The NC State women’s volleyball team won a hard-fought five- set match against the Pitt Panthers, 3-2 (28-26, 20-25, 25-16, 15-25, 18-16), Friday night inside Reynolds Coliseum. The score was tied 33 different times during the match, including 14 in the fifth set before the Wolfpack prevailed to get the victory.

“Our performance was very uneven tonight,” said head coach Bryan Bunn. “We had a couple good sets and a couple bad sets, so the fifth set was a toss-up. We kept our composure in the fifth set, after losing it in the fourth set, so we’re happy to get the win.”

The first set dictated the type of match that would ensue, as the score was tied 11 times and the lead changed six times. With the score tied at 21, senior Meredith Richardson swatted a kill to put the Pack up by one before an attack error by Pitt extended the lead to 23-21. After a Pitt timeout, the Panthers won three of the next four points to take the lead, 25-24. State responded with a 4-1 run to win the first set, 28-26, highlighted by three kills from junior Dariyan Hopper.

NC State (16-5, 7-2 ACC) cruised to a 25-16 third set win, after dropping the second set, 25-20. The Wolfpack used 16 kills and a .348 hitting percentage to win the frame. The Pack held the Panthers to an attacking average of .121 and forced five errors. After Pitt (12-10, 4-5 ACC) took the lead at 12-11, State scored seven unanswered points to extend its lead to 18-12. During the 7-0 run, Pitt used two timeouts, but was unable to stop the Pack’s momentum.

Pitt opened the fifth set with a service ace, but the Pack countered with consecutive points, including a service ace of its own by junior Nikki Glass. After trailing 12-10 in the frame, Pitt scored back-to-back points to tie the set at 12. NC State used a timeout to stymie the run and scored consecutive points after the break to lead 14-12 and have match point.

The Panthers refused to go away, however, and fought off match point to knot the score at 14. The Wolfpack used its second timeout of the period and forced an attack error on the next play to gain the advantage, 15-14. Pitt responded with two unanswered points to lead, 16-15. At that point, NC State went on 3-0 run to close out the set, 18-16, and win the match, 3-2.

In the fifth set, NC State held Pitt to a -.053 hitting percentage and forced its opponent to commit more errors (7) than kills (5).

Hopper led the Wolfpack offensively with 22 kills, while juniors Rachel Buckley and Glass contributed 12 and 10, respectively. Three players recorded double-digit digs, as junior Alston Kearns led the way with 26. Glass contributed 20 digs to record her third double-double of the season, while freshman Maddie Brown chipped in with 11. Sophomore setter Tanna Aljoe dished out 43 assists and Richardson led the team in blocks with five. 

NC State will have a quick turnaround as it returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 25 against Maryland at 5 p.m. inside Reynolds Coliseum. The match will be streamed live on GoPack.com.

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