The NC State volleyball team is slated to head north to Virginia Thursday for the VCU Invitational this weekend to take on VCU, UC Santa Barbara and Alabama.
NC State is coming off an easy doubleheader sweep over Austin Peay 3-0, and Kansas State 3-1. The Wolfpack (2-0) made quick work of the two outmatched squads in Reynolds Coliseum and should have a good chance to go 3-0 this weekend.
First up is a VCU squad that went 1-2 last weekend in the Sports Imports Classic, beating Lehigh 3-0 and losing its two matchups against Power Five schools, falling to Texas Tech 3-0 and Ohio State 3-1.
The Rams (1-2) are led offensively by outside hitter Vicky Giommarini and opposite hitter Gina Tuzzolo, who pace the team with 28 and 22 kills, respectively. Setting the two hitters up are setters Dajah Ard and Dani Jo David, who have combined for 77 assists in three matches.
UC Santa Barbara is off to a good start, as it went 2-1 in the Buffs Invitational last weekend, beating LIU 3-0, and Wyoming 3-2, and losing only to host Colorado 3-1.
The Gauchos (2-1) are powered by outside hitter Lindsey Ruddins, who leads the team with 55 kills, one less than the Gaucho’s next three leading hitters combined. Setters Olivia Lovenberg and Romoni Vivao handle the setting duties for UCSB, with 70 and 56 assists, respectively.
In its last match, the Wolfpack will take on Alabama, which closed out the 2018 season with a 20-12 record and appears to be much improved, albeit against weak competition, going 3-0 last weekend in the University of Buffalo Invitational. Alabama swept Marist and Buffalo in straight sets and narrowly took down Colgate 3-2.
The Crimson Tide (3-0) is led by outside hitter Doris Carter, who slammed her way to 30 kills in the Tide’s wins over Buffalo and Colgate. Next to Carter is middle blocker Hayley McSparin, who racked up 23 kills and 9 block assists in the three-game tournament.
Leading the way for NC State is junior opposite hitter Melissa Evans, who has 33 kills. Evans and middle blocker Lauryn Terry have been strong defensive forces at the net, combining for 17 blocks last weekend.
Redshirt sophomore Kaylee Frazier has adapted well to her new role as libero and leads the Pack with 39 digs, a key reason why setters Kristen McDaniel and Nina Sharpton have picked up a combined 80 assists.
NC State has a great chance to go undefeated this weekend and start its season off 5-0 before its Sept. 10 matchup against in-state rival East Carolina.
The Wolfpack will take on VCU on Thursday at 6 p.m., UC Santa Barbara Friday at 2:30 p.m. and Alabama Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Virginia.